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Volume XVI 

June, 1977 






Published By 


A Division of the University System of Georgia 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 

Volume XVI June, 1977 





Contributors iii 

Foreword John C. Upchurch v 

Preface David C. Weaver vi 

Agrarian Progress in the Cherokee 

Nation Prior to Removal Douglas C. Wilms 1 

Delicate Space: Race and Residence 
in Charleston, South Carolina, 
1860-1880 John P. Radford 17 

The Declining Small Southern Town Charles F. Kovacik 39 

Migration Patterns of Atlanta's Inner City 

Displaced Residents Frank V. Keller, 49 

Sanford H. Bederman, 

Truman A. Hartshorn 

Georgia's Crenelated County 

Boundaries Burke G. Vanderhill 59 

Frank A. Unger 

The Northern Neck of Virginia: 
A Tidewater Grain-Farming 
Region in the Antebellum South James B. Gouger 73 



Vol. II, 1963, Georgia in Transition. 

Vol. Ill, 1964, The New Europe. 

Vol. IV, 1965, The Changing Role of Government. 

Vol. V, 1966, Issues in the Cold War. 

Vol. VII, 1968, Social Scientists Speak on Community Development. 

Vol. VIII, 1969, Some Aspects of Black Culture. 

Vol. XI, 1972, Georgia Diplomats and Nineteenth Century Trade 

Vol. XII, 1973, Geographic Perspectives on Southern Development. 

Vol. XIII, 1974, American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods. 

Price, each title, $2.00 

Vol. XIV, 1975, Political Morality, Responsiveness, and Reform 
in America. 

Vol. XV, 1976, The American Revolution: The Home Front. 

Price, each title, $3.00 

Copyright ® 1977, West Georgia College 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Thomasson Printing Co., Carrollton, Georgia 30117 

Price, $3.00 

West Georgia College is an 
Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer 


BEDERMAN, SANFORD H., received the Ph.D. degree from the 
University of Minnesota and is presently Professor of Geography at 
Georgia State University. He has received grants from the National 
Science Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to conduct re- 
search in Africa. His articles on urban spatial problems have appeared 
in the Annals, Association of American Geographers, the Southeastern 
Geographer, and The Atlanta Economic Review. 

GOUGER, JAMES B., received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Geog- 
raphy from the University of Florida. His teaching and research interests 
include cartography and remote sensing, as well as the historical geog- 
raphy of the upper South. He is presently Assistant Professor of Geog- 
raphy at Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and is 
the editor of The Virginia Geographer. 

HARTSHORN, TRUMAN A., is an Associate Professor of Geography 
at Georgia State University. He has published articles on urban housing, 
commercial activity, and transportation in the Annals, Association of 
American Geographers, Geographical Review, Journal of Geography, 
and Journal of High Speed Ground Transportation. He is the author of 
Metropolis in Georgia: Atlanta's Rise as a Major Transaction Center 
and received the Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. 

KELLER, FRANK V., is an urban planner with the City of Atlanta 
Bureau of Planning, and is a part-time instructor in the Department of 
Geography, Georgia State University. He holds the M.A. degree in 
geography from Georgia State University. 

KOVACIK, CHARLES R, holds the Ph.D. degree in Geography from 
Michigan State University. He has read papers at various conferences 
and has published in the Annals, Association of American Geographers. 
His research interests center around aspects of the historical geography 
of the U.S. South, and South Carolina in particular. Dr. Kovacik is pres- 
ently Associate Professor of Geography at the University of South 
Carolina, Columbia. 

RADFORD, JOHN P., received his Ph.D. in Geography from Clark 
University in 1974. He is the author of recent articles in the South 
Carolina Historical Magazine and the Journal of Historical Geography, 
and is currently an Assistant Professor of Geography at York Univer- 
sity, Toronto. 

UNGER, FRANK A., is Associate Director of the Florida Resources 
and Environmental Analysis Center at Florida State University. He holds 
the M.S. degree in Geography from FSU. 


VANDERHILL, BURKE G., is Professor of Geography at Florida State 
University. He holds the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan 
and his articles have appeared in such journals as Annals, Association 
of American Geographers, Economic Geography, Journal of Geog- 
raphy, Southeastern Geographer, Canadian Geographer, Canadian 
Geographical Journal, and Geografisch Tijdschrift. 

WILMS, DOUGLAS C, is Associate Professor of Geography at East 
Carolina University. He received the Ph.D. degree from the University 
of Georgia. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Geography, 
Southeastern Geographer, and The Chronicles of Oklahoma. 



This volume continues the precedent of utilizing the services of a 
volume editor working under the loose supervision of a general editor, 
a policy initiated with the 1973 issue of Studies in the Social Sciences. 
Responsibility for selecting the theme of the present volume, the papers 
herein included, and initial editorial refinement was that of the volume 
editor. The role of the general editor was limited to broad consultation 
with the volume editor, final editing, and liaison with the printer. 

Volume topics for the past five issues of Studies have rotated among 
various social science disciplines. This year's issue rotated to the 
Department of Geography, and it was the decision of the volume editor 
to produce an issue in which scholars explore a variety of geographically 
significant themes, all tied together by their regional foci on the south- 
eastern United States. 

As in the past, this journal is financed partially by The University 
System of Georgia. It is distributed gratis to libraries of state supported 
colleges and universities in Georgia and to selected institutions of higher 
education in each southern state. Interested individuals or libraries may 
purchase copies for $3.00 to help defray printing and mailing costs. 
Standing orders for the series are available at reduced rates. 

It is with considerable pleasure that we submit to you this volume on 
geographical aspects of the southeastern United States. 

John C. Upchurch 
Professor and Chairman 
Department of Geography 
General Editor 


This volume is the second of the West Georgia College Studies in 
the Social Sciences series devoted to aspects of the geography of the 
southeastern United States. The preceding issue, published in 1973 and 
titled Geographic Perspectives on Southern Development, received 
favorable comment and subscription. Its success has encouraged pro- 
duction of this second volume with a similar regional and topical focus. 

As was the case with the earlier issue, and as the title indicates, the 
current volume comprises a collection of essays by professional geog- 
raphers with a primary regional research interest in the southeastern 
United States. The majority of the authors have lived in the South for a 
considerable period of time, most of them in the precise areas about 
which they are writing, and they can be considered authorities in their 
particular field of study. A glance at the contents shows that the specific 
topics of individual contributors are extremely varied. This is to a large 
extent a result of decisions by the editors to attempt to compile a 
broadly based assemblage with topical, spatial, and temporal balance. 

While the emphasis of the collection is on case studies of particular 
relevance to the human geography of the southeastern states, each of 
the essays in the volume was included because of potential significance 
to research outside the southern region. Wilms' article on the agriculture 
of the Cherokee Nation is of consequence to any enquiry concerned 
with the cultural adaptation of aboriginal societies to European expan- 
sion in North America. Radford's study of residential discrimination in 
post Civil War Charleston has reference and relevance to many of the 
prevailing concepts on the nature of the urban spatial structure. 
Kovacik, in his analysis of Fort Motte, South Carolina, investigates a 
complex set of problems which are endemic to much of rural America. 
In their study of Atlanta's displaced residents, Keller, Bederman, and 
Hartshorn are able to substantiate contemporary urban migration theo- 
ries with their findings. Vanderhill and Unger, in a discussion of some 
unique aspects of county boundary lines in Georgia, provide further 
insight into the way in which land subdivision has affected the pattern 
of political boundaries in the United States. In the concluding article 
on wheat growing in Tidewater Virginia, Gouger illustrates how the 
interacting processes of physical environment, market demand, and 
technical innovation influence fluctuations in the production patterns 
of agricultural regions. 

As a whole, the collection indicates both the variety of possibilities 
for geographic research on the South and the increasing attention being 
paid by professional geographers to this particular region. Although the 
southeast was one of the earliest settled sections of North America, 


there is in general a poorly developed literature on the geography of 
the area. It is hoped that this volume will help, in some small way, to 
remedy this deficiency. 

David C. Weaver 

Associate Professor of Geography 

Volume Editor 



By Douglas C. Wilms 

Although there is a growing interest among researchers in matters 
concerning the American Indian, there have been relatively few his- 
torical studies aimed at evaluating early Indian settlement patterns and 
land use. Writings on any Indian group have usually taken one of two 
approaches— either the ethnological approach, which stresses cultural 
factors, or the historical approach, which tends to emphasize the 
political and economic relations between Indians and whites. 1 This 
study deals with the changes the Cherokee Indians made in their 
approach to land use after European contact. It is especially concerned 
with the agrarian progress they made in light of these changes. 

The earliest records indicate that the Cherokee Indians originally 
occupied vast stretches of land in an area bordered by the Ohio and 
Tennessee Rivers on the north and west, and by the southern Piedmont 
on the east. In the south their territory extended to lands in present-day 
Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. 2 At the close of the American 
Revolution their more constricted territorial boundaries included lands 
in only four southeastern states (Figure 1). 

At the time of European contact, the Cherokees were primarily 
sedentary agriculturalists whose numerous towns were usually located 
along streams scattered throughout the valleys of the southern Appa- 
lachians. 3 In addition to their riverine agriculture, the Cherokees' sub- 
sistence economy consisted of hunting, fishing, and gathering. The 
extensive woodlands surrounding their settlements were used for hunt- 
ing with buffalo, deer, and bear being the principal large game in the 
area. Animal domestication was limited to the dog. 4 

Fields to be prepared for cultivation were cleared by girdling and 
subsequent burning of trees and undergrowth. John Adair, a trader who 
lived among the Cherokees in the 1730s, commented upon this procedure: 
... to a stranger, this may seem to be a lazy method of clearing 
the wood-lands; yet it is the most expeditious method they 
could have pitched upon, under their circumstances, as a 
common hoe and a small hatchet are all their implements for 
clearing and planting. 5 
Corn was the chief cultivated crop with beans and squash being nearly 
as important. In addition, peas, pumpkins, melons, strawberries, wild 
potatoes, and tobacco were raised. A limited number of hand tools such 
as the hoe and pointed stick were used for cultivation. The hoe blade 
usually consisted of animal bone, wood, stone, or shell. 6 


Figure 1 

Louis De Vorsey, in his work on the southern Indian boundary, 
noted that even as late as the mid-eighteenth century the Indian male 
often spoke unfavorably of agricultural pursuits in his public utterances 
". . . and credited only warfare and hunting as fit undertakings for a 
man." 7 While Cherokee men may have preferred hunting and warfare, 
they did play an active role in agriculture. Normally they participated 
in the heavier aspects of clearing fields, planting, and harvesting. Weed- 
ing and protection of plants from birds and scavengers were tasks 
assigned to women, children, and older men. Most hunting took place 
during the summer after crops had been planted and during the fall and 
winter months after the harvest. It has been suggested that the Chero- 
kees' eventually successful assimilation of the white man's agricultural 
techniques stems from this early preadaptation to farming. 8 

Beginning in the early eighteenth century, the Cherokees came into 
increasing contact with white traders, soldiers, and settlers along the 
eastern borders of their country. Continued culture contact appears to 

have led many Cherokees to adopt a number of European culture traits 
and, at the same time, to modify a number of their own. Within one 
century these steps toward acculturation produced an amazing number 
of changes in both the Cherokee society and the tribe's cultural land- 
scape. It was not until the period between 1790 and 1830 that the full 
effect of acculturation manifested itself in a new approach to agriculture 
and land use. These new developments particularly reflected the in- 
fluences of government agents and missionaries, each of which made 
their own unique contribution to the acculturation process. 

The earliest formal attempt of the Federal government to institute 
a "civilizing" policy toward the Cherokees resulted from the Treaty of 
Holston in 1791. Article 14 of the treaty stipulated: 

That the Cherokee nation may be led to a greater degree 
of civilization, and to become herdsmen and cultivators, in- 
stead of remaining in a state of hunters, the United States will 
from time to time furnish gratuitously the said nation with use- 
ful implements of husbandry and further to assist the said 
nation in so desirable a pursuit, and at the same time to estab- 
lish a certain mode of communication, the United States will 
send such and so many persons to reside in said nation as they 
may judge proper, not exceeding four in number, who shall 
qualify themselves to act as interpreters. . . . 9 
Many Cherokees had expressed an interest in receiving the type of 
aid outlined in the Treaty of Holston. In his capacity as a treaty com- 
missioner, Benjamin Hawkins wrote to the Secretary of War in 1785 
that, "some of the women have lately learnt to spin, and many of them 
are very desirous that some method should be fallen on to teach them 
to raise flax, cotton, and wool, as well to spin and weave it." 10 Chief 
Bloody Fellow of the Cherokee nation conferred with the Secretary of 
War in 1792 and expressed his desire for ". . . ploughs, hoes, cattle, and 
other things for a farm; this is what we want; game is going fast away 
from among us. If these things could be sent us next season, it would be 
a great service to us." 11 

Agrarian reform was subsequently encouraged in 1793 when Con- 
gress began annually to appropriate funds for the purchase of livestock 
and tools for the Indians. It was felt such gifts would help create a desire 
for private property and in turn bring about a basic change in the Indian 
economy. It was also hoped such changes would mean that the Indians 
would be content with less land. 12 

Pursuant to the Treaty of Holston, Indian agents had been ap- 
pointed to live among the Cherokees and perform liaison tasks between 
the tribe and the Federal government. Benjamin Hawkins, as agent for 
the Southern Indians, passed through the Cherokee country in the 
autumn of 1796. Hawkins had a keen eye for signs of Indian progress 

and recorded his observations as he travelled. The following excerpts 
portray not only some of the changes that had taken place, but also the 
continued desire, especially on the part of women, to make additional 

November 26 I met two Indian women on horseback, driving 

ten very fat cattle to the station for a market. 
November 30 They (Indian women) informed me that the men 
were all in the woods hunting, that they alone 
were at home to receive me, that they rejoiced 
much at what they had heard and hoped it would 
prove true, that they had made some cotton, and 
could make more and follow the instruction of 
the agent and the advice of the President. 
December 1 They (two women) told me that they would 
make corn enough but that they never could 
sell it. That they were willing to labour if they 
could be directed how to profit by it. 
December 3 The old fellow lives well, the land he cultivates 
is lined with small growth of saplins for some 
distance, his house is comfortable, he has a large 
stock of cattle, and some hogs. He uses the 
plow. 13 
Other observers also noticed the changes taking place in Cherokee 
agriculture and land use. Two Moravian missionaries, Abraham Steiner 
and Frederick von Schweinitz, journeyed through the Cherokee country 
in 1799 seeking to establish a mission station. They wrote that the 

. . . had greatly increased in culture and civilization in the 
last few years; that in course of last summer 300 plows and as 
many pairs of cotton cordingcombs had been sent to this nation 
and they had begun to devote themselves to agriculture and 
the raising of cotton; had several times brought cotton for sale 
and they had themselves begun to spin and to weave. . . . 14 
The two Moravians also observed that the inhabitants of the area were 
well supplied with all forms of livestock and poultry. Some produce was 
sold to local garrisons and droves of hogs were bought and driven out 
of the Cherokee nation. 15 

In addition to playing important roles in treaty formation and land 
cessions, government agents distributed annuities and gifts to the 
Indians. The efforts of Silas Dinsmoor, an agent to the Cherokees, illus- 
trate the benign philosophy of the Federal government at this time. 
Dinsmoor had been credited with inducing many Cherokees to plant 
cotton and with teaching the women how to spin and weave the fibers. 16 
Charles Hicks, a well-educated Cherokee chief, acknowledged his 

tribe's indebtedness to Dinsmoor in a letter he wrote in 1819 to the 
famous American geographer, Jedidiah Morse. He stated that the 
"Cherokees had already with stimulus spirits, entered the manufacturing 
system in cotton clothing in 1800 which had taken rise in one town in 
1796 or 7, by the repeated recommendation of Silas Dinsmoor, Esq. 
which were given to the Chiefs in Council." 17 

Much of the progress in agricultural development was verified 
eighteen years after the Holston Treaty when a systematic census was 
taken under the auspices of the Cherokee Indian Agent, Return Jon- 
athan Meigs. 18 Meigs was appointed Cherokee Indian agent in 1801. 
This Revolutionary War veteran accepted the position at age 60 and 
continued to work among the Cherokees until his death in 1823. He was 
active in promoting stock-raising, agriculture, and industry. In his 
capacity as Cherokee agent he granted money to schools and distribu- 
ted tools, implements, and advice to the Cherokees. 

His report of the 1809 census revealed there were 12,395 Chero- 
kees, 583 Negro slaves, and 341 whites living in the nation. The number 
and value of the "principal articles" were itemized as follows: 19 

6519 horses at $30 each $195,570 

19,165 black cattle at $8 each 153,320 

1037 sheep at $2 each 2,074 

19,778 swine at $2 each 39,556 

13 grist mills at $260 each 3,380 

3 saw mills at $500 each 1,500 

30 wagons at $40 each 1,200 

583 negro slaves at an average of $300 each 174,900 

The following items also were enumerated as part of the census: 
1592 spinning wheels 1 powder mill 

429 looms 49 silver smiths 

567 ploughs 5 schools 

2 saltpetre works 94 children in school 

Meigs' census, taken eighteen years after the Holston Treaty, 
attests to the degree of progress that had taken place during that brief 
period. Cherokee youth were attending school and some natives were 
learning trades. Plows were seen on an ever-increasing number of farms, 
while horses, cattle, swine, and sheep each numbered in the thousands. 
Spinning wheels and looms were common-place items to many of the 
women who produced cotton cloth. Total value of these improvements, 
as they were termed, was in excess of one-half million dollars. The 
census report stated that the improvements and property acquired 
". . . has principally been done since 1796." Thus, within little more than 
a decade, many Cherokees had acquired through initiative and annui- 
ties the skills, tools, and livestock necessary to establish the foundations 
of an agrarian economy. 

Agrarian progress continued into the 1820s and was widely reported 
by government officials and missionaries, as well as by the Cherokees. 
In 1820 Secretary of War John C. Calhoun sent to the House of Repre- 
sentatives a report on the Indian tribes of the United States that had 
progressed in agriculture, industry, and "civilization". Of the entire 
group, he could report that "the Cherokees exhibit a more favorable 
appearance than any other tribe of Indians." 20 

In 1822 Rev. Abraham Steiner noted the changes that had taken 
place during the first two decades of the nineteenth century: 

Just twenty years ago I first saw and visited them; and I can 
assure you, sir, though I had expected to see some signs of 
civilization among them, that it far surpassed my expectations, 
comparing the people with the state I first saw them in. Many 
of their youths can read and write; and I found among them, 
more especially half-breeds, as much knowledge as is com- 
monly met with in persons of the same grade in civilized life. 21 
Much of the above progress was verified in 1824 when the Chero- 
kees themselves took a census of their nation. 22 Information from this 
census is listed with similar material from the earlier ones taken by 
Meigs in 1809 (Table 1). If these data are assumed to be essentially 
correct, a significant number of changes had taken place during the 
fifteen years between censuses. The native population numbered 14,283 
while the number of slaves reached 1,277, an increase of 119 percent. 
More children were attending private and mission schools. Some Cher- 
okees owned and operated grist and saw mills, while spinning wheels 
appear to have been found in virtually every Cherokee home. On the 
farms, the number of plows in the nation had risen by 416 percent, and 
domesticated horses, cattle, swine, sheep, and goats totaled 79,942, an 
increase of 72 percent. Stores, blacksmith shops, and even a threshing 
machine were in operation. The character of the material goods pos- 
sessed by the Cherokees clearly suggests that, by the mid- 1820s, they 
were becoming a nation of farmers. 

Cherokee progress was accelerated in 1821 by Sequoyah's momen- 
tous invention of an eighty-six chapter syllabary. 23 Within months of 
the introduction of Sequoyah's system of writing the Cherokee tongue, 
many Cherokee could read and write their own language. The signifi- 
cance of the syllabary to Cherokee education, agrarian progress, and 
"civilization" was quickly recognized. At New Echota, the capital of the 
nation, the Cherokee Council resolved in October, 1827 to establish a 
weekly newspaper entitled the Cherokee Phoenix. Sequoyah's char- 
acters were cast into type, printing supplies were purchased, and the 
first copy of the Phoenix was issued on February 21, 1828. Elias 
Boudinot, a prominent Cherokee who played a leading role in his 
nation's history, served as the influential organ's energetic editor. 24 Well- 

educated and articulate, he championed the Cherokee cause both as a 
private citizen and as the editor of the Phoenix. 

Each issue of the Cherokee Phoenix appeared in both Cherokee 
and English. Articles in the newspaper dealt with the Cherokee lan- 
guage, tribal government, federal and state relations, religion, and news 
of other tribes as well as foreign countries. It also contained articles on 
agricultural improvements. Some of these dealt with the treatment of 
cattle diseases, butter making, fattening swine, and planting potatoes. 25 


Meigs' Census 

Cherokee Nation 

Percent of Change 

of 1809 

Census of 1824 


Population 3 

1 2,395 



Negro Slaves 
















Grist Mills 




Saw Mills 








Spinning Mills 
















Black Cattle 













• • 



Blacksmith Shops 

• • 




• • 



Tan -Yards 

• • 



Powder Mill 




Threshing Machine 

• • 



a These figures include only Cherokees. 
Source: Cherokee Censuses of 1809 and 1824. 

The noted missionary, Samuel Worcester, wrote in 1830 that 
agriculture was the principal employment and support of the Cherokee 
people. He suggested that hunting as a way of life had been completely 
abandoned. With regard to those who lived by the chase he wrote, "I 
certainly have not found them, not even heard of them, except from the 
floor of Congress, and other distant sources of information. 26 

In December, 1830, a group of resident missionaries met at New 

Echota and issued a statement which included a thorough report on 
agricultural progress. It noted that: 

Thirty years ago a plough was scarcely seen in the nation. 
Twenty years ago there were nearly 500. Still the ground was 
cultivated chiefly by the hoe only. Six years ago the number of 
ploughs, as enumerated, was 2,923. Among us all, we scarcely 
know a field which is now cultivated withough ploughing. 27 
Progress also had been made in industry and commerce. The 
natives recognized the value of skilled labor and, in 1810, the Cherokee 
Council unanimously agreed to allow white craftsmen to reside in the 
nation. 28 By 1824 there were 62 blacksmith shops, 9 stores, 2 tan-yards, 
and 1 powder mill in the country. A Cherokee law of 1825 encouraged 
the residence of mechanics who would train native apprentices. Upon 
completion of training, the youths' tools and equipment were to be 
furnished by the Council. 29 Within a decade the number of resident 
mechanics rose to 337. 30 

Grist and saw mills were built by the government, missionaries, and 
individual Cherokees. Increasing numbers of mills reflected the growing 
use of the plow and agricultural expansion. Increased corn production 
necessitated more grist mills, while lumber for fences, flooring, and 
construction purposes created a similar demand for saw mills (Table 1). 
Trade and commerce were facilitated by the numerous roads that 
traversed the nation (Figure 2). Most of these were built by the United 
States under the Treaty of 1816, which also gave the Federal govern- 
ment the right to free navigation of all rivers within the Cherokee 


Ca. 1825 /Y^X. 

r— — -i Hon mlary ol iht /( *» 
L — ~) Cherokee Country j) 


1 \ [ >\ / Y 
1 \ \ 1 / / 
' \ \ ■ «"*" ' *"' ^^**^N 1 

j^ ^v \_y • Giinasvlii 

1 \ sS 1 


1 ' **«.^ • 


Figure 2 

nation. 31 These roads not only allowed the Cherokees to ship surplus 
agricultural products out of the area, but also permitted travelers and 
drovers to cross the Cherokee nation on their way to neighboring states. 
Surplus corn and livestock raised by the Cherokees usually were sold 
in neighboring Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. 32 

Thousands of hogs, cattle, horses, and mules were annually driven 
from Tennessee and Kentucky to eastern markets in the early 1800s. 
There was also an internal demand for livestock in the Southeast. In 
1836, an estimated 40,000 hogs were driven to food-deficit cotton- 
producing areas in middle Alabama and Georgia. 33 Many drovers from 
Tennessee and Kentucky passed through the nation on their way to 
these states and their herds consumed vast amounts of corn at various 
Cherokee-owned public houses or "stock stands" along the way. A drove 
of hogs may have varied from several hundred to several thousand head 
and could travel an estimated eight to twelve miles each day, and 
perhaps more, depending on the size of the herd. On the average, 
approximately 24 bushels of corn were consumed daily for each 1,000 
hogs. 34 A number of Cherokees established taverns and "stock stands" 
along the roads used by drovers and thus profited from the traffic. 

Cherokee trade was generally restricted to the sale of corn, live- 
stock, and domestic hides. Although most cotton was used for domestic 
purposes, some was shipped from the nation to neighboring states and 
by boat down the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. 35 
Most trade, however, was overland with adjacent states. Dr. Butler, a 
missionary at Hiwassee, Georgia, wrote that many Cherokees, including 
full bloods, raised meat and corn for sale. He observed: 

Last season, while travelling on the frontiers of Georgia, I 
well recollect seeing wagon loads of corn going from the nation 
to the different states. Droves of beef cattle and hogs are driven 
annually from this nation to different states. A few weeks since, 
not less than 200 beeves were driven from this vicinity to the 
northern market; and I think as great numbers were collected 
in previous years. 36 

Another observer, presumably Elias Boudinot, editor of the Cher- 
okee Phoenix, provided a similar observation which appeared in 1831: 

It is supposed that not less than one thousand beeves will be 
driven from the Nation for the northern markets this season, 
besides those taken into Georgia and South Carolina. Those 
for the north are bought by Tennesseeans, not from the half 
breeds only but (as the expression is) from the common Indi- 
ans. This fact perhaps may give some of our distant readers a 
little light as to the condition of the Cherokees who were said 
to be long since on the point of starvation, most of them sub- 
sisting on sap and roots. 37 

An anonymous resident of the Carmel Mission wrote a penetrating 
letter on the agrarian and commercial progress made by the Cherokees 
at this time. Although the following extract is lengthy, it is included here 
because it demonstrates the degree to which the Cherokees had be- 
come involved in commercial activities by 1830: 

It has been said and reiterated in the ear of the public, that 
the game of the Indians is principally gone, that they are an 
idle, intemperate race, that they never can be effectually taught 
industrious and sober habits; and that so large a portion of 
them are now in actual want, that the cause of humanity calls 
to better their condition. I am aware that these and similar 
statements have been already known relative to the situation 
of the Cherokeees and consequently that every item of infor- 
mation on this subject, may in some way subserve the course 
of justice and truth. 

There are three or four public roads leading from Georgia to 
Tennessee through this nation. These roads are much travelled. 
Besides persons on ordinary business, may be seen drovers with 
large numbers of horses, mules and hogs, passing from Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee to Georgia. While in this nation these 
animals consume vast quantities of corn and other provisions, 
and yet they are supplied almost exclusively from the products 
of this country. Thousands of bushels of corn are sold by na- 
tives every year, which are raised by full Cherokees, to travel- 
lers and drovers. Within two miles of my residence are two 
public houses, owned and kept by natives. To my own personal 
knowledge, large droves of horses and hogs are very frequently 
supplied with corn for the night at each of these taverns. I have 
known as many as 1,400 hogs and their drivers to be supplied 
at the same time at one of these houses. Nor are instances of 
this kind rare. A part of the corn sold at these public houses is 
raised by their owners, and a part purchased of full Cherokees. 
Their sales are not, however, confined to the single article of 
corn. Large numbers of cattle and hogs are sold by them every 
year to citizens of Georgia and other states. Large droves of 
cattle purchased in this nation are driven annually to Virginia, 
and some are taken and sold in the Pennsylvania markets. I am 
personally acquainted with individuals engaged in this business. 
Cattle raised in this nation, I am informed, are sold in markets 
as far distant as Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania. 

Wheat is also raised in some parts of this nation. As many as 
five or six of my own neighbors have procured good crops of 
this valuable article the present season. This wheat is floured at 
a mill owned by natives. I have seen of the flour, and hesitate 


not in saying that it would be considered merchantable in any 

Another fact worthy of mention is that from a single Indian 
town, called Ellijay, fourteen miles from this place, were con- 
veyed, during the summer of 1829, seventeen or eighteen loads 
of corn averaging from thirty to thirty-five bushels each. This 
corn was purchased by inhabitants of Georgia, and carried on 
wagons seventy miles to some of the counties of that state con- 
tiguous to this nation. It passed my own dwelling on its way 
to Georgia. 

If the Cherokees can sell hundreds of cattle and hogs an- 
nually, and annually part with thousands of bushels of corn to 
travellers, and if seventeen or eighteen loads of it can be spared 
from a single Indian town, does the cause of humanity call for 
their removal to the howling deserts of the west, to prevent 
them from perishing from want? The facts I have mentioned 
show moreover that corn, and beef, and pork can be obtained 
here on cheaper terms than in neighboring counties of Georgia. 
If it be not so, how, I ask, can purchasers of these articles 
afford to buy and convey them seventy miles or upwards either 
for their own use or for the purpose of selling them again? If it 
be true then that the game of the Indian is gone, let it not be for- 
gotten that he has a more valuable substitute for his support. 38 
The fate of the Cherokees was sealed when Congress passed the 
hotly-debated Indian Removal Bill on May 28, 1830. Until their final 
expulsion in 1838, however, most Cherokees resisted all efforts made 
toward their removal. In general, the early 1830s was a period of turmoil 
and confusion for the Indians. In an attempt to identify and enumerate 
characteristics of the Indian population, land-holdings, and agriculture, 
United States government officials took a census of the Cherokee 
Nation in 1835. This census was the most comprehensive and complete 
inventory of the Cherokees taken to that date. 39 

At the time the census was taken the Cherokees occupied lands 
that are in present-day Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ala- 
bama. The largest portion of the nation was to be found in Georgia. 
In addition to having vast expanses of fertile Piedmont and Ridge and 
Valley lands, Cherokee Georgia was the site of New Echota. Moreover, 
it was crossed by many miles of road, thus making it one of the most 
accessible areas of the nation to those Cherokees desirous of settling 
these lands. More than half of the Cherokees and a significant number 
of slaves and intermarried whites lived in present-day Georgia (Table 2). 
Although the 1835 Census shows that the number of white residents 
had declined since the Census of 1824 was taken, both Cherokees and 
Negro slaves continued to increase in number. 






ro Slaves 


North Carolina 












Source: Cherokee Census of 1835 

It is unfortunate that livestock were not listed in the Census of 1835. 
A number of other enumerations, however, give us a clearer picture 
of the agrarian advances made by a people who had only recently 
adopted the use of the plow. The increasing use of the plow meant that 
more land was continually brought under cultivation. By 1835 more 
than 3,700 farmers cultivated more than 44,000 acres of land. The nation 
had 3,120 farms with an average of 14.1 acres under cultivation per 
farm. A few were much larger and were worked with Negro slaves 
whose numbers had increased to 1,592 at this time. Corn was the prin- 
cipal crop and in one year more than one-half million bushels were 
produced. 40 Wheat was much less important and only 2,502 bushels of 
this grain were raised. The wealthy Cherokee often had an elegant two- 
story home while poor natives occupied very mean structures. The 
average home, however, was a comfortable log cabin, modestly fur- 
nished, with chimney and wooden floors. 41 

By the mid-1830s, the Cherokees had become a nation of farmers 
and had progressed far toward developing an agrarian economy and a 
life-style similar to that of white Americans. Nearly four decades earlier, 
most Cherokees practiced the traditional hunting-farming economy 
not unlike that of other aboriginal groups in the southeast. During the 
eighteenth century most Cherokees continued to adhere to their time- 
honored subsistence economy. During the last decade of that period, 
however, and the early decades of the nineteenth century, a number of 
significant changes had occurred within the Cherokee economy. Con- 
tact with traders, missionaries, government agents, and others had 
taught the Cherokees much about the white man's civilization. More 
progressive Cherokees realized that both formal and vocational educa- 
tion were necessary to institute the economic changes so necessary to 
sustenance in an era of rapid game depletion. Encouraged by inter- 
married whites, mixed bloods, and enterprising full bloods, a number 
of Cherokees embarked upon the white man's path toward an agrarian 
way of life. 


The Cherokees, more than any other tribe, made great strides 
toward adopting white agricultural techniques and their cultural land- 
scape was beginning to reflect these changes. Success in establishing 
farms, making improvements, and over-all progress in "civilization" 
gave the Cherokee nation a look of permanence that was resented by 
proponents of Indian removal. For a number of years Georgia had been 
instrumental in attempting to have the Federal government expel the 
Cherokees from their lands. Georgia's efforts were heightened in 1828 
when gold was discovered in that portion of the Cherokee nation 
claimed by Georgia. Shortly thereafter Georgia had these lands sur- 
veyed in preparation for distribution to its citizens. 42 

With the passage of the Removal Bill, some Cherokees had begun 
to question the wisdom of a continued fight against the political forces 
of white Americans. In 1835 a group of influential Cherokees concluded 
that emigration, with favorable terms, was the only possible alternative 
available. This group signed the controversial Treaty of New Echota 
on December 29, 1836. 43 Briefly stated, the treaty provided that the 
Cherokee Nation cede to the United States its remaining territory east 
of the Mississippi River for a compensation of five million dollars. The 
Indians were to be removed at government expense and given a one- 
year subsistence allowance after they arrived in Oklahoma. 

Chief John Ross and his supporters vehemently maintained that 
the New Echota Treaty was fraudulent and was signed by a minority 
group who did not represent the wishes of most of the Cherokees. For 
three years, Ross fought without success to have the treaty nullified. 
It became law on May 23, 1836, and for the next two years small bands 
of Cherokees moved west. The final, forced Cherokee removal, called 
the "Trail of Tears", began in late December, 1838. 


1 William T. Hogan, American Indians (Chicago: The University of Chicago 
Press, 1961), p. 175. 

2 William H. Gilbert, The Eastern Cherokees, Bureau of American Ethnology, 
Bulletin 133 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1943), p. 178. 

3 Christopher Murphy and Charles Hudson, "On the Problem of Intensive 
Agriculture in the Aboriginal and Southeastern United States," Working Papers 
in Sociology and Anthropology. University of Georgia, April, 1968, pp. 24-34; 
Douglas C. Wilms, "Cherokee Settlement Patterns in 19th Century Georgia," 
Southeastern Geographer. Vol. XIV, No. 1, (May, 1974), pp. 46-53. 

4 Gilbert, The Eastern Cherokees, p. 185. 

5 Samuel Cole Williams, Adair's History of the American Indians (Johnson City, 
Tenn.: The Watauga Press, 1930), p. 435. 

6 Harold E. Driver, Indians of North America (Chicago: The University of 
Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 45-53. 


7 Louis De Vorsey, The Indian Boundary in the Southern Colonies. 1763-1775 
(Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1966). p. 17. 

8 Raymond D. Fogelson and Paul Kutsche, "Cherokee Economic Cooperatives: 
The Gadugi," in Symposium on Cherokee and Iroquois Culture, ed. William N. 
Fenton and John Gulick, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 180 (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1961), p. 116. 

9 Quoted in Henry T Malone, Cherokees of the Old South (Athens: The Uni- 
versity of Georgia Press, 1956), p. 36. 

10 American State Papers, Indian Affairs, I, p. 39. 

11 Ibid. 

12 Hagan, American Indians, p. 45. 

13 Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806, Collection of the Georgia Histor- 
ical Society, Vol. IX (Savannah, Ga.: The Morning News, 1916), pp. 16-30. 

14 Samuel Cole Williams, Earlv Travels in the Tennessee Country (Johnson City, 
Tenn.: The Watauga Press, 1929), p. 59. 

15 Ibid., pp. 464-490. 

16 Henry T. Malone, "Cherokee Civilization in the Lower Appalachians, Espe- 
cially in North Georgia, Before 1830" (unpublished M.A. thesis, Emory Uni- 
versity, 1949), p. 47. 

17 Quoted in Grant Foreman, The Five Civilized Tribes (Norman: The Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1934), pp. 352-353. 

18 The complete title of the census is "A General Statistical Table for the 
Cherokee Nation, Exhibiting a view of their population, and of their improve- 
ments in the useful arts, and of their property acquired under the fostering hand 
of Government, which has principally been done since the year 1796." Original 
copy housed in the Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

19 Cherokee Census of 1809. 

20 American State Papers. Indian Affairs, I, p. 200. 

21 American State Papers. Indian Affairs, II, p. 278. 

22 Laws of the Cherokee Nation (Knoxville, Tenn.: Heiskell and Brown, 1826). 

23 For more detail on the life of this remarkable Cherokee see Grant Foreman, 
Sequoyah (Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1938). 

24 Henry T. Malone, Cherokees of the Old South (Athens: University of Geor- 
gia Press, 1965), pp. 157-158. 

25 Cherokee Phoenix, August 13, 1828; August 20, 1828; October 1, 1828; July 
1, 1939. 

26 Jack F. Kilpatrick and Anna G. Kilpatrick, eds.. New Echota Letters (Dallas: 
Southern Methodist University Press, 1968), p. 79. 

27 Quoted in Allen Guttman, States' Rights and Indian Removal: The Cherokee 
Nation v. The State of Georgia (Boston: D.C. Heath and Co., 1965), pp. 66-67. 

28 American State Papers. Indian Affairs, II, p. 281. 

29 Malone, Cherokees of the Old South, p. 144. 

30 Census of the Eastern Cherokees, 1835, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record 
Group 75, Nation Archives, Washington, D.C. 

31 Charles C. Royce, "The Cherokee Nation of Indians: A Narratiave of their 
Official Relations with the Colonial and Federal Governments," Fifth Annual 
Report, Bureau of Ethnology. 1883-84 (Washington, D.C: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1887), p. 198. 


32 The driving of hogs to Georgia must have been a profitable venture as early 
as 1807. At that time the Moravian missionaries at Springplace, Georgia, at- 
tempted to buy hogs from their wealthy Cherokee neighbor, Joseph Vann. He 
refused to sell them any because he was preparing to take a large herd to Geor- 
gia. See Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton, "Minutes of the Mission Conference 
Held in Springplace," The Atlanta Historical Bulletin (Winter 1970), p. 46. 

33 Lewis C. Gray, History of Agriculture in Southern United States to I860. Vol. 
II, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Publication No. 430 (New York: Peter 
Smith, 1941), pp. 837-840. An excellent study of pork production in the southern 
states is found in Sam B. Hilliard, "Pork in the Ante-Bellum South: The Geog- 
raphy of Self-Sufficiency, " Annals, Association of American Geographers, LIX 
(September, 1969), pp. 461-480. 

34 Gray, History of Agriculture, Vol. II, p. 841. 

35 Gilbert C. Fite, "Development of the Cotton Industry by the Five Civilized 
Tribes in Indian Territory," Journal of Southern History, XV (August, 1949), 
pp. 343-344. 

36 Cherokee Phoenix, September 22, 1830. 

37 Cherokee Phoenix, August 27, 1831. 

38 Cherokee Phoenix, October 23, 1830. 

39 The record of the Cherokee Census of 1835 is a large and extremely well 
preserved book housed in the National Archives, Washington, D.C. Each page 
of the census consists of a series of columns that lists, by individual landholder, 
such items as the number of slaves owned, acres cultivated, bushels of corn 
raised, and corn sold. At the left side of the page, the name of each landholder 
is recorded, along with the name of the water-course adjacent to which he lived. 

40 Census of the Eastern Cherokees, 1835. 

41 Kilpatrick and Kilpatrick, New Echota Letters, pp. 79-80. 

42 Douglas C. Wilms, "Georgia's Land Lottery of 1832," The Chronicles of 
Oklahoma, Vol. LII, No. 1, (Spring, 1974), pp. 52-60. 

43 Malone, Cherokees of the Old South, pp. 180-182. 




By John P. Radford* 

American cities have played many roles, but first and foremost they 
have been the organizing centers of a dynamic and rapidly expanding 
market economy. The network of U.S. cities is a creature of competitive 
processes: wholesaling, retailing, industrial entrepreneurship and the 
provision of a myriad of business and personal services. Within Ameri- 
can cities, too, competition for space has been the dominant principle 
regulating the arrangement of urban functions, including the allocation 
of residential space. 

This study seeks to summarize the intellectual bases of the most 
seminal interpretation of competitive residential processes in the Amer- 
ican city, and to use the insights contained therein as a foil against which 
to examine residential processes within an alternative version of Amer- 
ican urbanism. The alternative examined is one which crystallized in 
Charleston, South Carolina during the mid-nineteenth century. It is part 
of the underlying philosophy of the study that one can often gain as 
much understanding of a situation by investigating its extreme mani- 
festations as by attempting to construct a general model. Further, it is 
often profitable to examine an institution or a city during periods of 
crisis or shock, when important but normally hidden elements are 
exposed to view. Attention will focus upon Chicago and Charleston as 
epitomes of two American versions of the city, and then upon the period 
1860 to 1880 in Charleston during which the residential patterns formed 
during the antebellum decades were sharply challenged. 

The most widely influential attempt to explain residential patterns 
in U.S. cities is the model published in 1925 by E. W. Burgess. 1 The dia- 
grams which Burgess drew have probably been reproduced, at least in 
modified form, more often than any others in the field of urban studies. 
It is unfortunate that the accompanying text has so far had a somewhat 
more restricted currency. 

Burgess' main concern in the 1925 essay was to provide a frame- 
work within which to study urban growth. He suggested that this might 
be done by viewing the physical growth of the city as an expansion 
process, within which two sub-processes could be isolated: invasion- 
succession, and centralization-decentralization. These sub-processes 

The author wishes to thank the staff of the York University Department of 
Geography Cartographic Office for drafting the figures accompanying this 


tended to produce a differentiation of the city according to a pattern of 
concentric zones, stretching outwards from the center. Around a 
central business district was a "zone in transition," which included a 
factory zone. Outside these were three residential zones of increasing 
status with distance from the center. 

Expansion processes might also be studied in terms of social organ- 
ization. Here the problem was reduced to two questions: 

How far is the growth of the city, in its physical and technical 
aspects, matched by a natural but adequate readjustment in 
the social organization? What, for a city, is a normal rate of 
expansion with which controlled changes in the social organ- 
ization might successfully keep pace? 2 

In order to clarify the notion of the existence of a "normal rate of 
expansion" for a city, Burgess introduced a biological analogy. The 
natural rate of population increase could be viewed in the same terms 
as the anabolic and catabolic processes of metabolism in living organ- 
isms. The natural rate of increase might be used as a yardstick against 
which to measure excessive increases in population. Quite clearly, the 
"normal rate of expansion" of American cities had far exceeded the 
natural rate of increase in the population. The result had been "distur- 
bances of metabolism," brought about by rapid in-migration. 

The resulting condition of the city was reflective of that of individ- 
ual in-migrants, being characterized by widespread disorganization. 
Cities appeared to Burgess to go through phases of disorganization 
which stemmed from disruptions of their metabolisms, and which were 
"accompanied by excessive increases in disease, crime, disorder, vice, 
insanity, and suicide." All of these conditions could thus be used as 
indices of social disorganization. The best index of all, however, was the 
rate of spatial mobility. 3 

During the city-expansion phases "a process of distribution takes 
place which sifts and sorts and relocates individuals and groups by 
residence and occupation." 4 What eventually emerged was a social 
landscape, but also including differentiated subareas produced by 
segregation processes which separated the population into "economic 
and cultural groupings." Such spatial changes took place at the same 
time as related changes in the social structure of the city, particularly 
in the division of labor. 

Burgess' essay should be viewed within the context of a school of 
human ecological thought which Willhelm has called "traditional ma- 
terialism." 5 The conceptual bases of this school of thought were for- 
mulated largely by Robert E. Park. Although subsequent schools of 
urban ecology departed from this original conception, they did so 
largely by abandoning the study of process, thereby transforming urban 
ecology into the study of the patterning of social variables. Park's orig- 


inal conception remains as a profound insight into the nature of the 
laissez-faire American city, and even the much derided biological 
imagery should serve to heighten our appreciation of its inner dynamism. 

The key ideas of the Burgessian scheme — normal and excessive 
rates of population increase, phases of disorganization and reorganiza- 
tion, disturbances in metabolism, ensuing adjustments in the structural 
and spatial composition of the city — are fully consistent with the general 
notions of Park. 6 Central to Park's theory was the idea that the human 
community qua ecological community tended toward a state of equi- 
librium with its natural environment. The natural condition of the 
ecological community was biological competition. In the human com- 
munity this was frequently manifested in economic competition. But 
above the human community was society, which, by establishing a 
system of social controls, regulated the natural tendency toward out- 
and-out competition. The level of competition within a society could 
thus be used as an index of the strength and effectiveness of these 
social controls. 

William L. Kolb cast these concepts of social structure into a time 
sequence, which he claimed was implied in the Parkian scheme. 7 Ac- 
cording to Kolb, Park viewed the achievement of a state of equilibrium 
between a community and the "natural resources and spatial charac- 
teristics of the environment" as allowing the development of a moral 
order— a system of social controls— which reinforces the balance. A 
shock, usually excessive population increase, may loosen the hold of 
the moral order, allowing unregulated competition to resume. Read- 
justments—particularly changes in the division of labor— are subse- 
quently made in society, allowing the restoration of equilibrium and the 
eventual development of a new moral order. Kolb's paper directly con- 
fronted the essence of the ecological argument, and provided a valuable 
clue to its spatial and temporal relevance. Kolb regarded the main 
deficiency in the argument as being a failure to allow for the influence 
of social values, and proposed a partial remedy which would incorporate 
into the ecological viewpoint several of the Parsonian pattern variables 
of value orientation. 8 The American city is seen as having developed 
within a society dominated by universalistic achievement-orientation, 
that is, one in which status was gained in direct relation to performance, 
as evaluated against a set of highly generalized standards. 9 The American 
city could not be understood without the realization that these values 
"came to pervade the major normative and belief systems of American 
society: religion, morality, legal institutions, folkways, mores, proverbs, 
practical philosophies, ideologies, and norms governing social action 
in the political and occupational world." These were the orientations 
which produced "the modern division of labor, the market economy, 
and the bureaucratic enterprise." 10 


In Kolb's view, Park interpreted the pervasiveness of competition 
in early twentieth century Chicago as a reflection of "the relative free- 
dom from the moral order which [its] inhabitants enjoyed." 11 Kolb him- 
self preferred the interpretation that economic competition was sanctioned 
by the moral order, the moral order itself being characterized by a 
universalistic achievement-orientation. He saw the period 1870-1930 in 
Chicago as one in which universalistic achievement values so permeated 
the moral order that it was "barely capable of creating and sustaining a 
social order." Social practices were pushed beyond those sanctioned by 
Protestant individualism (of which Chicago was the purest product) to 
new extremes of the "economic law of the jungle," of anomie, and of 
social breakdown. 12 Changes in patterns of residence were viewed by 
the human ecologists as one of a number of adjustments which take 
place in an urban system in response to shock. Such changes in pattern 
are closely linked with related changes in mobility rates, the division of 
labor, the incidence of mental disease, the spatial distribution of the 
population, and other variables. The changes tend to occur in bursts, 
periods of rapid change being separated by "normal" periods of relative 

It is a remarkable fact that the city, which was the laboratory of the 
early human ecologists, was also the city which epitomized the American 
industrial age. Well before the Civil War, Chicago was establishing the 
foundations of what became an urban industrial boom of extreme pro- 
portions. Between 1840 and 1850 the city's population increased six-fold 
and the value of its real estate increased twenty-fold, as the wheat trade 
developed, and as factory industry gained a foothold. 13 By the end of the 
century, as a result of several frantic bursts of growth, Chicago had be- 
come a world city. Its reputation grew almost as rapidly. Chicago was 
the "noisy marketplace," the "roaring boiler factory," 14 dominated by 
people who possessed, "an invulnerable faith in the power of man . . . 
to overcome any obstacle [and] an unquenchable faith that physical 
forces must and would be subdued and made to serve the purpose of 
man." 15 To many, Chicago meant ruthlessness, even menace. 16 By the 
1890s its blood-thunder reputation had made it the "shock city" of the 
age. 17 Visitors saw in it, "the very essence of American civilization," and 
the epitome of the American miracle. 18 

Between the Civil War and the Great Depression, Chicago, according 
to human ecological theory, experienced a period of sustained shock. 
Bursts of rapid industrial growth and rapid in-migration threatened the 
moral order and produced a state of disequilibrium. It was the social 
adjustments to this situation, as interpreted within a survival of the 
fittest framework by urban sociologists, which gave rise, beginning in 
the 1920s, to a host of studies of "what the city did to man." 

The miracle of American urban-industrial growth was celebrated 


almost everywhere in the United States, except in the South. The Civil 
War, which augmented Chicago's growth, brought devastation to the 
South; and while the American mainstream was riding the post-war 
economic boom, the South felt only the bitterness of Reconstruction. 
The foundations of this contrast were laid down well before it evolved 
into open conflict. During the first half of the nineteenth century the 
South had become progressively more defensive of its way of life, more 
provincial in outlook and more intolerant of outside influences. These 
trends are revealed in the public pronouncements of politicians, in 
personal letters and diaries, and in the literature of the age. 19 A "cordon 
sanitaire" was erected against those ideas which were regarded as dan- 
gerous to the established order, creating, especially after 1830, "a nearly 
static society walled off by a dike that was intended to preserve the 
static character." 20 

In no city was this resistance to change, this reverence for the past, 
more strongly expressed than in Charleston, S.C. Charleston was not in 
any real sense the "capital" of the Old South; it was the capital only of 
an important Tidewater planting community. But it did become, during 
a period of declining economic fortunes, the center of the idea of 
Southern nationalism. 21 It was, in Eaton's phrase, "the very citadel of 
Southernism," the center as Rogers has shown, of the idea of a Southern 
way of life. 22 Antebellum Charleston was, in fact, the center of a power- 
ful moral order— the focus of strands of thought which were to be found 
throughout the South. Its intellectual community wove these strands 
into a coherent idea which received strong historical and mythical rein- 
forcement. The idea was sufficiently strong to propel the city and state 
into unilateral secession from the Union. 

The value system of late antebellum Charleston emanated from the 
planters. 23 Finding in this coastal seaport first a seasonal haven from 
"country fever," and later a year round list of social activities, the 
Tidewater planters became a growing presence within the city. 24 It be- 
came increasingly fashionable during the nineteenth century for planters 
to build townhouses in the city, and the life of the city came to be 
dominated by the planting families. 25 

The values of the plantation are, as Genovese put it, antithetical to 
those of the bourgeois world. 26 "The planter typically recoiled at the 
notion that profit should be the goal of life; that the approach to pro- 
duction and exchange should be internally rational and uncomplicated 
by social values; that thrift and hard work should be the great virtues; 
and that the test of the wholesomeness of a community should be the 
vigor with which its citizens expand the economy." 27 As the planter 
presence in Charleston grew stronger, such views came to dominate the 
city. Charleston's merchant community, previously comparable in size 
and influence to those of many contemporary U.S. cities, was now over- 
shadowed by the planters. The merchant became an outsider, 28 and 


Charleston, instead of evolving from mercantile seaport into industrial 
city, became instead a leisure capital. The planters essentially stifled 
the city's development. 

The implications for Charleston's place in the U.S. urban hierarchy 
and for its internal spatial arrangement were profound. It sank from fifth 
place in the hierarchy in 1830 to sixty-eighth place in 1900. Within the 
city, the effect of planter influence was to perpetuate a number of 
internal spatial patterns which elsewhere became obsolete. The planters' 
interests were in health, aesthetics and leisure. 29 They encouraged the 
creation and preservation of tasteful architecture and healthful open 
space, and were adamantly opposed to potentially disruptive forces, 
especially abolitionism and industrialization. Constant vigilance proved 
necessary in order to minimize the effects of disruptive threats, both 
internal and external in origin. Such is the context within which the 
residential patterns and processes in mid-nineteenth century Charleston 
should be viewed. 


One important illustration of the nature of the residential processes 
and patterns which dominated mid-nineteenth century Charleston is 
provided by a comparable study of its racial patterns in 1860 and 1880. 
Charleston's population of just over forty thousand in 1860 was almost 
evenly divided between black and white. The city's whole existence was 
permeated by matters of race, and it is race which provides us with the 
most sensitive indicator of the nature and direction of residential pro- 
cesses. The period between the two cross-sections was the most 
turbulent in Charleston's history, involving a major fire in 1861, bom- 
bardment and partial abandonment during the Civil War, and the 
apparent turmoil of Reconstruction. Such events may be regarded as 
imparting a series of "shocks" to the city, and the nature of the response 
manifested in the racial residential patterns are therefore of consider- 
able significance to the present discussion. 

After 1850 the City of Charleston included not only the four wards 
south of Calhoun Street but also four additional Upper Wards on the 
Neck (Figure 1). In order to reconstruct the racial residential patterns 
of Charleston, a ten per cent systematic sample of heads of household 
was selected from the federal manuscript censuses of 1860 and 1880. 
Density maps were drawn of each major racial group for both dates. In 
order to avoid aggregation problems associated with morphological 
units such as city blocks, the spatial units adopted were formed by a set 
of grid squares randomly placed over a map of the city. The frequencies 
obtained were then generalized (Figures 2 and 3). 


Figure 1. Charleston in 1860, showing 
major streets and ward boundaries. 



I I [""I 5-6 

I | 1-2 Kkl 7-8 

mi 3-4 hi 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feet 

Figure 2. Density of sample heads of household by race, 1860. 



□ FT! 5-6 

I I 1-2 JH 7-8 

ES3 3-4 ih 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feet 

Figure 2 (Continued) 



□ E~l 5-6 

I I 1-2 MM 7-8 

ES3 3-4 MM >s 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feet 

'■: Ml 

Figure 2 (Continued) 




I I EZ] 5-6 

I I 1-2 §■ 7-8 

f: : : : : : :1 3-4 H >8 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feel 

Figure 2 (Continued) 


(112 SUWES) 


I I IM\ 5-6 

I I 1-2 BH 7-8 

Ex!] 3-4 ■■ >8 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feet 

Figure 2 (Continued) 



□ HI 5-6 

I I 1-2 H 7- 

ES3 3-4 B9 >8 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feet 

Figure 3. Density of sample heads of household by race, 1880. 




I I EO 5-6 

I I 1-2 H 7-8 

EE3 3-4 ■■ 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Fee! 

Figure 3 (Continued) 



□ EH 5-6 

ES3 3-4 wm ■ 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feel 

Figure 3 (Continued) 



I I P5-6 

E33 3-4 ma 

Grid Square Side Measures 900 Feel 

Figure 3 (Continued) 








Figure 4. Racial change by block, 1860-1880. 


Figure 2A shows the density distribution of the total free population 
in 1860, and figures 2B, 2C and 2D show the distributions of the major 
racial subsets of the population as recognized in the federal census. 
Figure 2E is an attempt to provide a comparable view of the distribu- 
tions of the slave population by mapping the slave houses enumerated in 
the Ford census of 1861. M While the distribution of the white population 
approximates that of the total population, the slave houses are arrayed 
in two broad sectors, one in the center of the peninsula (King Street) and 
one in the east (East Bay Street). Some areas within these sectors show 
very high levels of concentration. Perhaps the most interesting feature, 
however, is the substantial northerly bias in the distribution of free 
mulattoes. This becomes extreme in the distribution of free blacks. 31 

Figure 3 suggests that only a limited amount of change had taken 
place in these macro patterns by 1880. It is true that detailed comparison 
is made difficult by the absorption of former slaves into the mulatto and 
black categories, and an increase in the total numbers caused by an 
influx of rural freedmen. 32 Further, in order to measure residential 
change in detail, closer analysis of small sections of the city would be 
necessary. Such a need is illustrated by Figure 4, which shows racial 
change by city block and suggests the occurrence of marked changes 
within small areas. Nevertheless, the lack of any major change at the 
city-wide scale is clearly demonstrated by Figures 2 and 3. Given the 
events of the two decades in question, the persistence of the overall 
racial patterns is quite remarkable. 


Despite repeated and in the short term highly disruptive shocks, the 
residential patterns by race in Charleston were remarkably persistent 
between 1860 and 1880. Two main reasons may be advanced for this: 
the persistence of antebellum attitudes and the nature of the shocks 

After the Civil War the main desire of most of the whites reoccupy- 
ing the partially ruined and abandoned city was to restore Charleston 
to its former condition, and to re-establish life as it had been before the 
war. Unavoidable realities such as the impoverishment of many leading 
citizens and the abolition of slavery would, as far as possible, be accom- 
modated. The War created no new direction, and neither indeed did 
Reconstruction. The once popular view of a "world turned upside 
down" in Reconstruction South Carolina has little foundation in reality 
as recent studies have shown. 33 While some in Charleston looked for a 
"change of heart", either racially or economically, it never materialized. 
The persistence of anachronistic patterns in 1880 is to a large extent a 
reflection of the tenancity of antebellum values. The traumatic events 
of the era— bombardment, the virtual abandonment of the city, the 


threat of total destruction, as well as the freeing of the city's slaves and 
in in-migration of thousands of rural freedmen— rivalled in intensity any- 
thing experienced by Chicago. Yet these events were imposed upon the 
city and were external to its value system. They were not, as in Chicago, 
a result of processes sanctioned by its value system — less ecological 
shocks, perhaps, than parametric shocks. There existed no logical social 
or spatial response by which to effect a "readjustment." In Charleston 
we confront not the city dynamic but the city intransigent. 

Human ecology reflected, if rather crudely and with some exaggera- 
tion, the condition of Chicago in the late nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries. The inappropriateness of this formulation to Charleston is 
most apparent in the virtual omission of racial factors. The earliest clear 
statement concerning urban blacks in the ecological literature comes 
from McKenzie who portrayed the black as an inmigrant whose differ- 
entiating characteristic is highly visible and does not, like language and 
culture, disappear. 34 Instead of moving outward to homogeneous sub- 
urbs, the black community expands in situ. This view has nothing to 
contribute to our understanding of the delicate process which allocated 
racial residential space in Charleston. The notion of competition for 
residential space in human ecological terms also has little meaning in 
Charleston. The city's growth rate did not approach anything which 
could be described as "abnormal". The concept of "disturbance of 
metabolism" seems to require a degree of dynamism which is not 
present, and the notion of rapid spatial changes— "sifting and sorting" — 
as part of a readjustment process presumes a rationality of response 
rarely encountered in Charleston. 

But for the moral flaw of slavery, the urban view offered by the Old 
South and epitomized in Charleston might have produced a more lasting 
alternative to the dominant strain of American urbanism. As it was, 
Charleston, although resolutely un-Reconstructed, yielded spremacy 
after the Civil War to those towns which, in Coulter's phrase, "had 
Yankee stamped on them." The New South brought a new philosophy 
and a different economic alignment which by-passed the city. Charles- 
ton's moral order became once again confined to a small portion of the 
Tidewater, and this city, for a time the center of a great idea, became, 
in the context of the American mainstream, little more than a curiosity. 


1 Ernest W. Burgess, "The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research 
Project," in Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess, The City (Chicago: The 
University of Chicago Press, 1925), pp. 47-62. 

2 Ibid., p. 53. 

3 Ibid., pp. 59-61. 

4 Ibid., p. 54. 


5 Sidney M. Willhelm, Urban Zoning and Land Use Theory' (New York: The 
Free Press, 1962), pp. 13-49. 

6 These notions are most concisely expressed in, Robert E. Park, "Human 
Ecology," American Journal of Sociology. XLII (1936), pp. 1-15. They are 
described in detail in several early works, notably in, Robert E. Park and Ernest 
W. Burgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1921). For an overview of the intellectual history of this text, 
and an evaluation of the relationship between the two men, see, Robert E. L. 
Faris, Chicago Sociology: 1920-1932 (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing 
Company, 1967), pp. 37-50. 

7 William L. Kolb, "The Social Structure and Functions of Cities," Economic 
Development and Cultural Change, III (1954), pp. 30-46. 

8 Talcott Parsons, The Social System (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1951), 
pp. 88-112. 

9 In Parsons' words, universalism "favors status determination, i.e., the alloca- 
tion of personnel, allocation of facilities and rewards, and role-treatment on the 
basis of generalized rules relating to classificatory qualities and performances 
independently of relational foci. . . . The combination with achievement values 
. . . places the accent on the evaluation of goal-achievement and of instrumental 
actions leading to such goal achievement . . . [and] promotion of the welfare of 
a collectivity as such tends to be ruled out. The collectivity is valued so far as 
it is necessary to the achievement of intrinsically valued goals. This is the basis 
of a certain 'individualistic' trend in such a value system." Parsons, The Social 
System, pp. 182-183. 

10 Kolb, "The Social Structure," p. 34. 

11 Ibid, p. 35. 

12 Ibid, p. 37. 

13 Bessie Louise Pierce, A Histon' of Chicago, Vol. I, 1673-1848 (New York: 
Alfred A. Knopf, 1937), p. 403. 

14 Henry Hanson, The Chicago (New York: Rinehart and Company, Inc., 1942), 
p. 337. 

15 Pierce, A History of Chicago, p. 403. 

16 Henry Justin Smith, "Introduction" in Lloyd Lewis and Henry Justin Smith, 
Chicago: The History of Its Reputation (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 
Inc., 1929), pp. xi-xii. 

17 Asa Briggs, Victorian Cities (2nd ed.; New York: Harper and Row, 1970), 
p. 56. 

18 Allan H. Spear, Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1967), p. 1. 

19 See especially: Clement Eaton, Freedom of Thought in the Old South (New 
York: Peter Smith, 1951) and William R. Taylor, Cavalier and Yankee: The 
Old South and American National Character (New York: George Braziller, 
Inc., 1961). 

20 Rollin G. Osterweis, Romanticism and Nationalism in the Old South (New 
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1949), p. 11. 

21 Clement Eaton, The Mind of the South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Uni- 
versity Press, 1969), pp. 162-165. 

22 George C. Rogers, Charleston in the Age of the Pinckney's (Norman, Okla.: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1969), pp. 162-165. 


23 Ibid., p. 323. See also Rogers' volume The History of Georgetown County, 
South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970). 

24 Lawrence Fay Brewster, Summer Migrations of South Carolina Planters 
(Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1947), p. 4. 

25 John Lofton, Insurrection in South Carolina (Yellow Springs, Ohio: The 
Antioch Press, 1964), p. 43. Brewster, Summer Migrations, pp. 4-5. Thomas R. 
Waring, "Charleston: The Capital of the Plantations" in Augustine T. Smythe 
et. al. The Carolina Low Country (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1931), p. 132. 

26 Eugene D. Genovese, The World the Slaveholders Made: Two Essays in 
Interpretation (New York: Random House, 1969), pp. 118-244. 

27 Eugene D. Genovese, The Political Economy of Slavery: Studies in the 
Economy and Society of the Slave South (New York: Random House, 1965), 
pp. 28-29. 

28 Rosser H. Taylor, Ante-Bellum South Carolina: A Social and Cultural 
Histoty ("The James Sprunt Studies in History and Political Science" Vol. XXV, 
No. 2; Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1942), p. 44. See 
also William W. Freehling. Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy 
in South Carolina, 1816-1836 (New York: Harper and Row, 1965), p. 13; and 
Rogers, Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys, p. 52. 

29 The role of aesthetic appreciation and the importance of leisure among the 
Tidewater planters is a recurrent theme in the secondary literature on Carolina 
society. On Charleston, see, for example: Constance McLaughlin Green, Amer- 
ican Cities in the Growth of the Nation (London: The Athlone Press, 1957); 
Louis B. Wright, The Cultural Life of the American Colonies (New York: 
Harper and Brothers, 1957), and Taylor, Ante-Bellum South Carolina, pp. 33-40. 

30 Frederick A. Ford, Census of the City of Charleston. South Carolina for the 
Year 1861 (Charleston, 1861). 

31 For an interpretation of these patterns and an alternative set of maps of race 
in Charleston, see John P. Radford, "Race, Residence and Ideology: Charles- 
ton, South Carolina in the Mid-Nineteenth Century" Journal of Historical Geog- 
raphy. II (1976), pp. 329-346. 

32 These complications, and some possible adjustments which can be made to 
allow for them, are discussed in, John P. Radford, "Culture, Economy and 
Residential Structure in Charleston, South Carolina 1860-1880," Unpublished 
Ph.D. dissertation, Clark University, 1974, pp. 291-293. 

33 For example: Peggy Lamson, The Glorious Failure: Black Congressman 
Robert Brown Elliott and the Reconstruction in South Carolina (New York: 
W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1973); Martin Abbott, The Freedman's Bureau in 
South Carolina: 1865-1872 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1967); Carol K. Rothrock Blesser, The Promised Land: The History of the 
South Carolina Land Commission, 1869-1890 (Columbia: University of South 
Carolina Press, 1969). 

34 R. D. McKenzie, The Metropolitan Community (New York: Russell and 
Russell, 1933), p. 242. 



By Charles F. Kovacik* 

Although abandoned fields now overrun by kudzu or planted in 
pine forests mask evidence of past occupance, many relict features, 
such as empty tenant houses or lone brick chimneys standing mute in 
fields of soybeans, testify to a once more densely inhabited rural 
southern countryside. Many small towns which once served more 
heavily populated agricultural hinterlands have also declined in popu- 
lation and are now characterized by empty streets, abandoned stores, 
ramshackle houses, silent railroad sidings, and a general atmosphere of 
disrepair and despair. Anyone who has traveled through the rural South 
is familiar with the declining small town. Fort Motte, South Carolina 
is such a place. 

Although the area surrounding the present-day town was settled 
in the 1740s, the place name was not used until 1781. During the Revo- 
lutionary War, the British seized the home of Colonel Isaac and 
Rebecca Motte and used it as a fort. Rebecca Motte urged the colonials 
to use burning arrows to fire the home, and this resulted in the surrender 
of the British. 1 This patriotic action ensured a place for both Rebecca 
Motte and the place name, Fort Motte, in South Carolina's recorded 

The Fort Motte .battle site is located in Robert Mills 1 1825 atlas 
and many subsequent state maps. 2 Development of a town, however, 
did not begin until after 1842 when the Louisville, Cincinnati, and 
Charleston Rail Road was completed from Branchville to Columbia. 3 
A post office opened in 1847, and in 1856 the train stopped at Fort 
Motte twice daily. 4 The town grew, and increased rail service stimu- 
lated and reflected its development. The train stopped six times a day 
in 1870 and provided two mail deliveries, four passenger stops, and more 
regular freight service. 5 

Fort Motte was incorporated as a town in 1875 and, like most small 
railway settlements in central South Carolina, served an agricultural 
hinterland based upon cotton. 6 During the late nineteenth and early 
twentieth centuries, the town's growth was promising. In 1883 Fort 
Motte included the post office, a general store, two physicians, a depot 
agent, private school, and a cotton gin. The number of retail establish- 

*The author wishes to express his appreciation to Dr. William R. Stanley, 
Department of Geography, University of South Carolina, for his participation 
in gathering the field information and for helping make this a most worthwhile 
learning experience. 


ments increased to nine, and the population was estimated at 250 indi- 
viduals in 1888. Population increased to 375 by 1908 and there were 10 
shops, a hotel, a bank, two physicians, a telephone exchange, a cotton 
seed oil mill, grist mill, and a dispensary which sold liquor. The armory 
housed the Fort Motte Guards and elms were planted along the gas 
lighted sidewalk. The church was not far from the well-kept homes of 
the white businessmen, and the railroad depot faced the business 
district. 7 Before the widespread adoption of the automobile, the streets 
were crowded with people each Saturday. 

Today the streets are empty and the community is but a shell of a 
more glorious past (Figure 1). Buildings either sit abandoned or have 
been torn down for their brick. The nearest grocery store is twelve miles 
distant. The depot is gone, and rarely does the train blow its whistle at 
the crossing. Those desiring bus service must walk three miles to the 
main highway and hail a bus. Only one establishment serves the public, 
a third class post office. A deserted Main Street and the unkempt homes 
and yards of the 144 inhabitants (all but two of whom are black) are 
typical of scores of towns that once served a more populated hinterland 
in South Carolina and throughout rural America. Fort Motte has all 
but expired. 


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Figure 1 

Industrialization, urbanization, and concomitant migration from 
rural to urban areas have accounted for significant changes in the 
American landscape and lifestyle since the turn of the century. For 
many reasons millions left rural areas to seek a new way of life in the 
nation's cities. The changes in transportation, agriculture, and industry 
since World War I induced massive migration from most rural areas. 
Southern agriculture became more diversified with a shift to beef cattle, 
hogs, dairying, pulpwood, poultry, peanuts, soybeans, and truck farming. 
Traditional row crop agriculture lost acreage. Small farmers and small 
farms were eliminated in favor of larger more mechanized farms, and 
the increased mechanization forced farm laborers and tenants off the 
land. 8 Both blacks and whites left the farm, but blacks could not com- 
pete with whites for jobs in southern cities. Two World Wars stimulated 
industry in the North, and a tremendous demand for unskilled workers 
arose in northern cities. Rural southerners made the trek, most stayed 
in the North and most were black. 

Slow to industrialize, South Carolina experienced considerable out- 
migration especially among its black population. Population growth 
lagged behind the national average, and vast areas of the rural country- 
side and many small towns became depopulated. Between 1920 and 
1960 the state lost over one-half million persons to out-migration, and 
this loss was predominantly among its non-white population. 9 Net out- 
migration among non-whites was recorded at 217,784 persons during 
the 1950s and 176,912 in the 1960s. 10 Recent migration estimates indi- 
cate that a significant change is occurring. Between 1970 and 1974, it 
appears that South Carolina has gained 79,000 persons through migra- 
tion as compared to the negative statistics of previous decades." Never- 
theless, the fact that South Carolina suffered substantial out-migration 
for a long period has left lasting marks on the rural landscape. 

Between 1960 and 1970, exactly one-half of the state's forty-six 
counties suffered population decline. Thirty-five counties declined in 
black population, and thirty-one lost rural population. The significance 
of black out-migration with respect to depopulation is perhaps best 
evidenced by the fact that thirty-nine counties reported net out-migra- 
tion with forty-five of the forty-six counties registering a net out- 
migration among blacks. 12 Even though the most recent statistics reveal 
that migration trends are changing, eighteen counties are estimated to 
have experienced a negative net migration between 1970 and 1974, and 
four declined in population. 13 These counties include high proportions 
of rural and black populations. 


The objective of this paper is to direct attention to a ubiquitous 
southern landscape feature, the declining small town. The present-day 
form, function, and problems of such towns are the result of changes 


which have occurred through time. Many of these declining places owe 
their condition to continuous and sustained black out-migration. Although 
it has been recognized that black out-migration from the rural South 
has swelled the size and altered the spatial organization of northern 
cities, few geographers have studied the relationship between this out- 
migration and decreasing social and economic opportunity in the rural 
South. Even less energy has been directed at examining the quality of 
rural or small town life of southern blacks. By illustrating some of the 
problems facing such places, perhaps the southern landscape can be 
better understood by its students, people, and decision-makers. 

The paper is based upon information gathered in the field over a 
period of several months in 1971 and 1972. Informal, yet structured, 
personal interviews were conducted with a member of each household 
in Fort Motte, South Carolina. The specific purposes of this paper 
are: (1) to determine how many people left and where they went, (2) to 
illustrate the relationship between out-migration and age structure and 
its significance, and (3) to document the favorable and unfavorable 
aspects of the quality of life in a small declining black community as 
perceived by its residents. 


Situated in rural Calhoun County, Fort Motte provides an ideal 
study area. Calhoun was one of twenty-three South Carolina counties 
which declined in population between 1960 and 1970. The county re- 
ported a population of 10,789 persons in 1970, a decline for the decade 
of 12 percent. Blacks accounted for 60 percent of the total population, 
and population has declined during each decade since 1920. 

The head of each household was asked to disclose the age and 
place of residence of each surviving child who left the household. These 
questions were aimed at determining the age structure of some of the 
out-migrants and their spatial distribution. By no means does this 
information include all of Fort Motte's out-migrants. All of the 120 
reported out-migrants are between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four, 
sixty-eight are females and fifty-two are males, and 82 percent are 
between the ages of twenty and thirty-nine. 

The typical pattern of rural black out-migration appears to begin 
after high school graduation. The migrant either moves immediately 
after graduation or "hangs around" exploring the limited local employ- 
ment situation. After age twenty, if a suitable job has not been found 
he "goes up the road" where employment opportunities are more 
plentiful. Thus, the rural area becomes depopulated, with the eco- 
nomically productive living elsewhere. 

Only twenty-three of the children who were born and raised in Fort 
Motte and chose to leave relocated elsewhere in South Carolina. Nearly 


three-fourths who did were females, and most of them reside in nearby 
St. Matthews. Only four took residence in Columbia, one in Charleston, 
and one in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which reaffirms the notion that 
rural blacks see little opportunity in larger southern cities. The remain- 
der are scattered in small central South Carolina towns or in other rural 

Of the ninety-seven who left Fort Motte and South Carolina, 70 
percent chose to establish their new way of life in one of the large 
metropolitan areas extending from Washington, D.C. to Boston. New 
York City attracted forty-one of the out-migrants, twenty-three went to 
Washington, D.C. and eight to Newark, New Jersey. The remainder live 
in six other northeastern seaboard cities. Cities of the Middle West and 
Pacific Coast received few Fort Motte out-migrants. Cleveland, Chicago, 
and Detroit combined attracted only four migrants, and one one person 
ventured as far as Los Angeles. It appears that when a rural black South 
Carolinian contemplates "goin' up the road" he is more often than not 
evaluating conditions in either New York, Washington, or Newark. 
More than likely these are the places which already include family or 
friends. The potential out-migrant has more information onthese places 
and can go to a friend for help upon arrival. 


Age structure, the proportion of people within various age groups, 
is an important demographic characteristic. An individual's age influences 
his personal needs, his social and economic activities, what he thinks, 
and how he behaves. Many of the services and activities, potential or 
real, operative in a particular area are related to the age of its popula- 
tion. The age-sex pyramids for Calhoun County and Fort Motte illus- 
trate the relationship between out-migration and age structure (Figure 2). 

A population's age structure is the result of past and present 
fertility, mortality, and migration. Since the population of Calhoun 
County decreased from 14,753 to 10,870 persons between 1950 and 1970 
and there has been no dramatic increase in mortality or decrease in 
fertility, out-migration has been chiefly responsible for this population 
decline. During this period there was a slight decrease in the number of 
whites, but the non-white population dropped from 10,449 to 6,519 

The age-sex pyramids illustrate the age selectivity of out-migration. 
In each case the twenty to twenty-four year old age group includes a 
smaller proportion of the population than the age group immediately 
preceding. This disparity is much more evident among blacks as the 
base of each pyramid is broad up to age twenty and then narrows sig- 
nificantly with increasing age. Fort Motte has relatively few persons 
in the young adult ages. 





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Figure 2 

The rectangular shape of the 1970 white population pyramid pro- 
vides an excellent example of an aging population. The white population 
grew older and included proportionately fewer youngsters, fewer young 
adults, and a greater proportion of people over fifty years of age in 1970 
as compared to 1950. If this indeed represents a trend, fewer whites will 
enter the reproductive ages resulting in a drop in birth rate while mor- 
tality will increase as greater numbers of whites enter old age groups. 


Fort Motte has suffered even greater out-migration than did Cal- 
houn County. Of the surviving children sired by the 144 residents, 120 
have departed. To a large degree, the population of Fort Motte is com- 
posed of persons either over forty-five years of age or under the age of 
twenty with very few people in the intermediate ages. The age-sex pyra- 
mid of Fort Motte's out-migrants clearly illustrates that most of the 
persons in the biologically reproductive and economically productive 
ages have left. If current trends persist, the young people will continue 
to leave while mortality takes its toll among the old, a situation which 
forecasts a grim future for Fort Motte. 


The people of Fort Motte eagerly responded to this question. By 
proposing measures which would improve their quality of life, they also 
revealed what they perceived as unfavorable life conditions. Job avail- 
ability was named by over two-thirds of the respondents as the number 
one priority if Fort Motte is to become a better place in which to live. 
The fact that nineteen of the twenty-four males between the ages of 
twenty and fifty-nine are employed full-time strongly indicates that rural 
blacks are willing to seek gainful employment. Furthermore, the five 
who are unemployed are physically disabled. 

Perhaps even more significant is the great distance these men travel 
to their jobs. Since jobs are largely absent in the local area, most com- 
mute forty-two miles daily to work in Columbia. One travels eighty-three 
miles to the Savannah River Atomic Energy facility and three men, 
employed by Southern Railway, are away from home for the five 
working days. The residents of Fort Motte collectively agree that if 
employment were available in the near vicinity, life conditions would 
improve and fewer young people would choose to migrate. 

The second priority was given to a grocery store. The nearest 
grocery store is located in St. Matthews, twelve miles away. Some resi- 
dents stated that if even a milkman or peddler came through town once 
a week, life would improve. Running water and a laundromat often were 
mentioned as factors which would make life better in Fort Motte. Many 
of the wells are either dry or of poor quality and some residents lack a 
dependable water supply. A laundromat would ease the burden of the 
washboard and galvanized tub washday. It is not uncommon, during the 
winter months, to see clothes boiling in steaming black iron kettles. 
Poor medical service, littered streets, and the lack of a playground also 
were reported as problems. 

Although transportation was not articulated as a high priority for 
the improvement of life, its absence weighs heavily on the residents of 
Fort Motte. Only one-half of the households maintain a vehicle. The 
transport problem justifies the second priority given to a grocery store, 


especially among the elderly who do not own vehicles. Those without a 
vehicle are almost solely dependent upon neighbors who own cars for 
a ride to town. Most of the time transport can be arranged. Each trip, 
however, costs between $1.50 and $2.00. This added cost to the food bill 
is especially damaging to persons at minimal or fixed incomes. In addi- 
tion, a $7.00 to $10.00 reduction in the weekly paycheck is suffered by 
those who work in Columbia and must pay for transport. The depen- 
dency on others for mobility also may be psychologically troublesome. 
If transport can not be arranged or is too expensive, the alternative is a 
three mile walk to the main highway and a wait for the bus. 


Even though conditions in Fort Motte are far from good, blacks do 
perceive some favorable aspects of life in a small rural community. 
Some interesting responses were offered to the question: What is good 
about living in Fort Motte? Nearly 57 percent reported that the freedom 
of country life, peacefulness, quiet, safety, and fresh air were positive 
factors. Another 21 percent stated that Fort Motte was their home and 
that they would feel uncomfortable living elsewhere. About 9 percent 
felt that the cost of living here was low, and 8 percent bluntly stated that 
there was nothing good about living in Fort Motte. 

Some might consider these responses to be of questionable value 
since many believe that poor, isolated rural blacks have a limited exper- 
ience or knowledge which would enable them to compare life in Fort 
Motte with an alternative lifestyle. The notion of the isolated rural black 
may be more myth than reality. The residents of Fort Motte are indeed 
poor and black, but their experience with alternative lifestyles is not 
limited. The fact is that because out-migration has been continuous and 
of considerable proportion, especially among the inhabitants' children, 
the people of Fort Motte are surprisingly knowledgeable of the ghetto 
lifestyle in such places as Washington, New York, and Newark. Parents 
visit their children, some frequently, or their children visit them during 
vacation periods. It also is common for the residents of Fort Motte to 
care for their grandchildren during the summer. It would be interesting 
to compare some index of isolation for rural black and rural white resi- 
dents of the South. 

The high value placed on the freedom of country life, peacefulness, 
quiet, safety, and fresh air is more meaningful when the northern ghetto 
lifestyle is within the experience of Fort Motte residents. Certainly, 
constraints exist on the freedom of country life for blacks. But, the 
residents of Fort Motte define this freedom as being able to fish and 
hunt, plant a garden, and raise some hogs or chickens if they so choose. 
A large proportion, 71 percent, either raise livestock or tend a garden. 
Significantly, 73 percent stated that they feel secure in Fort Motte. It 
would be interesting to compare this response to that of blacks who live 
in northern ghettos. 



Certainly it would be untenable to suggest that information from 
one small town can be related to all small southern towns, or for that 
matter, all small towns in South Carolina. But anyone with even a 
limited experience with the rural South can and has witnessed scores of 
Fort Mottes. More often than not, the problems facing places like Fort 
Motte and their people are real, deserve attention, and have been 
created largely by out-migration. The result of out-migration is a smaller, 
older, less skilled, less educated, and more dependent population. 

People in such rural areas require services from their local govern- 
ments such as law enforcement, fire protection, sewerage, water, 
schools, roads, and hospitals which are increasingly more difficult to 
provide from a shrinking local tax base. Retail establishments, enter- 
tainment, physicians, and transportation also are required. Such services 
are almost economically impossible to furnish in a declining market 
area. Further, the decline in services and the less educated, less skilled 
labor force discourages industries from locating and improving the 

The absence of those things most urban Americans take for 
granted such as job availability, convenient access to a grocery store or 
laundromat, and running water are perceived as unfavorable aspects of 
life by the residents of Fort Motte. In addition, these unfavorable condi- 
tions are amplified by the absence of convenient and regular transpor- 
tation. On the other hand, the residents of Fort Motte perceive country 
life, peacefulness, quiet, security, and fresh air as favorable life conditions. 
Interestingly, many middle class white urban Americans seek precisely 
the same amenities in their flight to the suburbs. 

If the attitudes of the people of Fort Motte represent those of other 
rural southern blacks, job availability is crucial to the improvement of 
their quality of life. Certainly industries will not rush to locate in places 
like Fort Motte, but industrial growth in the many southern cities of less 
than 25,000 inhabitants could be seriously encouraged by the govern- 
ment. The fact that rural blacks overcome long distance and expense to 
find work implies that there exists a willing labor reservoir in the rural 

The rural South has been confronted with problems associated with 
out-migration while a completely different set of problems have been 
associated with the migrant's arrival in northern metropolitan areas. 
Rural black out-migration has resulted in a financial and human 
resource drain for both the rural South and urban North. Even though 
migration trends are changing and more people are moving into south- 
ern states than moving out, most migrants appear to be attracted to the 
larger urban centers. Unless the declining small towns are revitalized 
and made more attractive to people and industry, they will continue to 
decline and perhaps even disappear from the southern landscape. 



1 Claude Henry Neuffer, "Calhoun County Plantations of St. Matthews Parish 
Near the Congaree-Santee River," Names in South Carolina, Vol. 12 (1965), 
p. 46. 

2 Robert Mills, Atlas of the State of South Carolina (Baltimore: F. Lucas Jr., 
1825). This work has special significance since it was the first published atlas of 
a single state in the United States. For an interesting account of the Mills atlas 
see: Walter W. Ristow, "Robert Mills's Atlas of South Carolina," The Quarterly 
Journal of the Library of Congress, Vol. 34 (1977), pp. 52-66. 

3 Samuel Melanchthan Derrick, Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad 
(Columbia, S.C.: State Company, 1930), p. 187. 

4 Schedule and Rules for the Running of Trains on the South Carolina Rail 
Road (Charleston, S.C.: Walker and Evans, 1856), pp. 10-11. 

s Traveller's Official Guide of the Railroads and Steamship Navigation Lines in 
the United States and Canada: June, 1870 (Philadelphia: The Leisenring Print- 
ing House, 1870). A facsimile reprint by the National Railway Publication Com- 
pany (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers Incorporated. 1971), entry 304. 

6 South Carolina Planning Board, Towns of South Carolina. Pamphlet No. 8 
(Columbia, S.C.: 1943), p. 52. 

7 There is no history of Calhoun County, and materials used to trace the growth 
of Fort Motte between 1883 and 1908 include: August Kohn and R. Lewis 
Berry, A Descriptive Sketch of Orangeburg City and County. South Carolina 
(Orangeburg, S.C.: R. Lewis Berry, 1888), p. 30; Ross A. Smith, The South 
Carolina State Gazetteer and Business Directory: 1883, 1886-87, 1890-91 
(Charleston, S.C.: Lucas and Richardson, 1883, 1886, and 1890); State Board of 
Agriculture of South Carolina, South Carolina: Resources and Population, 
Institutions, and Industries (Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans, and Cogswell, 
1883), p. 693; and The Calhoun Times, St. Matthews, S.C., Sept. 18, 1941 and 
Feb. 1, 1973. 

8 For good accounts of changes in southern agriculture see: Merle C. Prunty, 
"Some Contemporary Myths and Challenges in Southern Rural Land Utiliza- 
tion," Southeastern Geographer, Vol. 10 (1970), pp. 1-12; Charles S. Aiken, 
"The Fragmented Neoplantation: A New Type of Farm Operation in the South- 
east," Southeastern Geographer. Vol. 11 (1971), pp. 43-51; and Merle C. Prunty 
and Charles S. Aiken, "The Demise of the Piedmont Cotton Region," Annals, 
Association of American Geographers, Vol. 62 (1972), pp. 283-306. 

9 Julian J. Petty, 20th Century Changes in South Carolina Population (Colum- 
bia, S.C.: University of South Carolina, Bureau of Business and Economic Re- 
search, 1962), p. 177. 

10 Gladys K. Bowles and James D. Tarver, Net Migration of the Population. 
1950-60, By Age, Sex, and Color, Vol. I, Part 3. Economic Research Service, 
U.S.D.A. in Cooperation with Research Foundation, Oklahoma State Univer- 
sity (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966), p. 505, and Gladys 
K. Bowles, Calvin L. Beale, and Everett S. Lee, Net Migration of the Population, 
1960-70, By Age, Sex, and Color, Part 3. Economic Research Service, U.S.D.A.; 
Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia (Athens, Ga.: Univer- 
sity of Georgia Printing Department, 1975), p. 120. 

" U.S. Bureau of Census, "Estimates of the Population of Counties: July 1, 1973 
and 1974," Current Population Reports, Series P-25, No. 620 (Washington, 
D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), p. 51. 

12 Bowles, 1960-70, Net Migration of the Population, pp. 121-143. 

13 U.S. Bureau of Census, "Estimates of the Population," p. 51. 



By Frank V. Keller, Sanford H. Bederman, and Truman A. Hartshorn* 

The housing stock of central Atlanta, Georgia, unlike that in many 
older cities in the northeast United States, is dominated by detached 
single family residences, resulting in relatively low population densities. 
The quality of housing in this inner city section has declined over the 
years, however, and by the time massive urban renewal projects were 
initiated in the early 1960s over half the housing stock in the part of the 
city, which was to be designated as a Model Neighborhood Area (MNA), 
was in substandard condition. Renewal programs, once initiated, were 
extremely aggressive in Atlanta and together with clearance for freeway 
construction had a dramatic effect on housing. Central Atlanta, for 
example, experienced a gross loss of over 19,000 housing units in the 
1960-1970 period. This decline in housing was especially acute in the 
MNA, where several communities lost over a quarter of their 1960 
housing stock during the decade. Much of the territory affected by 
urban renewal and code enforcement programs has remained vacant, 
and little of the land on which housing was removed has been restored 
to residential use. While this situation is not unique to Atlanta, it is 
worthy of further investigation. 

The city's first Workable Program for Community Improvement 
began in 1956, but activity utilizing federal funds did not start in earnest 
until 1960, which marks the advent of record keeping related to the 
pattern of family displacement. The common assumption has been that 
these families gravitated to other poor areas and made their new neigh- 
borhoods more crowded, but no systematic study has been made to 
support or refute this problem. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is 
to reveal where these movers relocated and to explain the resultant 
distribution within the context of intra-urban migration theory. 


The Model Neighborhood Area was located immediately south of 
Atlanta's Central Business District. 1 It comprised 3000 acres and con- 
sisted of six residential neighborhoods— Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, 
Pittsburgh, Summerhill, Adair Park, and Grant Park. With the excep- 
tion of the latter two communities, all were predominantly black. The 

The authors wish to express their appreciation to Mr. Howard Grigsby, former 
Director of Relocation, Atlanta Housing Authority, for his assistance in pro- 
viding background information which made this study possible. 


communities originally were chosen as part of the MNA because: 
. . .all facets of blight and deterioration were located here. . . . 
Approximately 48,000 citizens occupied twenty percent of all 
the city's substandard and twenty-nine percent of the city's 
dilapidated housing units; shared twenty percent of the major 
crimes, twenty-five percent of the juvenile arrests and twenty- 
two percent of the welfare cases. . . . Almost half the families 
had incomes below the poverty level ($3000.00 per year). 2 
Selected demographic and housing data for the MNA, when com- 
pared with the remainder of the city, indicated the extent of the prob- 
lem. The Model Neighborhood Area contained some of the city's oldest 
housing units, although advanced blight was more pronounced in the 
four black communities than it was in the two white communities. The 
1970 Census of Population listed 12,242 housing units in the MNA, 
which represented a loss of 16.9 percent of the area's housing units from 
1960. The greatest housing losses were in the communities of Summer- 
hill and Mechanicsville — 27 and 26 percent, respectively. 

In 1960 the population of the MNA was 51,950. By 1970 the number 
had decreased to 36,000— a loss of 15,950 or 30 percent of the total. The 
communities of Mechanicsville and Summerhill lost about half their 
population during the ten year period, 1960-1970. The population of 
Pittsburgh and Peoplestown was reduced by more than 25 percent, 
while Adair Park and Grant Park (the two white communities) experi- 
enced insignificant losses. Population losses in Mechanicsville and 
Summerhill are attributed to the clearance of land for the Atlanta 
Stadium and the 1-75/85 downtown expressway connector and the 
demolition of unsafe housing structures. Housing demolition and sub- 
sequent population losses during the study period (May 1969-December 
1972), however, were largely the result of Urban Renewal and housing 
code displacement. 


From the time record keeping began until 1972, over 6300 families 
and individuals in Atlanta were forced to leave their homes because of 
some publicly sanctioned program. In the MNA, over 800 families and 
individuals were moved involuntarily between May 1969 and December 
1972. From this group, a sample of 203 relocation records (25%) were 
randomly selected for analysis. In order to answer the question "Where 
did involuntary movers go?" the sample data were studied to determine 
if distance and directional biases existed. Additionally, because 97 
percent of the movers were black, the sample data were checked to 
ascertain if there was a specific pattern of movement to the numerous, 
but small black enclaves which are widely spread through suburban 


Distance Bias 

The first step in examining the nature of movement from the MNA 
was to plot each move destination on a map by block and census tract. 
At the same time, rings centered on the MNA were drawn at two mile 
intervals to a distance of six miles out (Figure 1). The number of moves 
to each ring was recorded, and each group was sub-divided to reflect the 
reason for displacement (Table 1). Of the 203 moves, 56 percent (114 
moves) were made within the inner-most ring (0-1.9 miles). Conversely, 
only 4 percent of the moves were made beyond the six-mile radius. The 
two rings between 2.0 and 5.9 miles received the remaining 40 percent of 
the moves. Two significant facts emerge: (1) the number of moves 
decreased as distance increased from the origin of displacement, and (2) 
of those who moved within the 0-1.9 mile ring, two-thirds actually 
relocated in the MNA. Many of the movers never left their original 
census tract. 

• -One Move 

Figure 1 

New Residence Locations of Involuntary Movers, Model Neighborhood Area, 
May 1969-December 1972. Source: Model Neighborhood Area Relocation 



Total Moves 

Displacing Entity 

Distance in 

Urban Renewal 

Code Enforcement 


No. % 

No. % 

No. % 

0- 1.9 

114 56.2 

68 60.1 

46 51.1 

2.0 - 3.9 

48 23.6 

31 27.5 

17 18.8 

4.0 - 5.9 

33 16.2 

9 8.0 

24 26.7 

6.0 + 

8 3.9 

5 4.4 

3 3.3 


203 100% 

113 100% 

90 100% 

Source: Compiled by Authors 

Although distance decay was quite apparent in the moves, there 
was an irregular distribution within the two-mile ring. Indeed, analysis at 
a larger scale indicated that the moves were limited to specific sectors 
within the inner ring (Figure 2). For example, predominantly white 
Grant Park and Adair Park, both within the MNA, received only four 
moves. To the north, the CBD served as a major constraint to movement 
in that direction. Moves within the MNA were made to existing standard 
housing and to public housing projects located mainly in the Mechanics- 
ville community. Some of these moves within the MNA were directed to 
blocks immediately adjacent to the areas of displacement. Moves out- 
side the MNA, but within the two-mile ring, were limited primarily to 
public housing to the south and northwest. 

The major factor responsible for distance decay in the involuntary 
moves seems to have been familiarity with available housing within the 
income range of the displaced families in nearby blocks and neighbor- 
hoods. Nevertheless, a problem emerged for those families or individuals 
who remained within the two-mile ring. They were generally faced with 
housing conditions similar to those they had left; these conditions 
included very low value units, a high degree of substandardness, and 

Directional Bias, Search Behavior, and Public Housing Constraints 

An examination of moves beyond the two-mile ring indicated that 
they were not uniformly clustered, but rather, followed a sectoral align- 
ment in four general directions: (1) eastward into DeKalb County and 
the City of Decatur; (2) westward into the black residential wedge 
towards the Chattahoochee River; (3) northwestward towards Cobb 
County, especially along Bankhead Highway, and (4) southeastward 
into South Atlanta and South DeKalb County (Figure 1). All of these 
sectors were either predominantly black or in the process of racial tran- 
sition in 1970. The availability of low and moderate cost single family 
housing in these areas within the income range of those displaced is a 
factor responsible for the occurrence of bias in these four directions. 



Equally important is the blocking factor of the CBD and the predomi- 
nance of higher income areas to the north. And finally, the distribution 
of public housing itself was an important variable, because not all moves 
were to the private sector. In view of the distinctiveness of each type of 
move, those to public housing were examined separately from those to 
the private sector. 

The moves to private housing were specifically examined to deter- 
mine if relocation patterns conformed to typical intra-urban search 
behavior regularities. The literature on this topic suggests that urban 
families relocate predominantly further from the old residence in 
relation to the Central Business District or secondarily, closer in, rather 
than moving crosstown. 3 Although the directional bias is the norm for 
outlying families, inner city residents have been shown to have more 
circular than eliptical relocation patterns. Brown and Holmes, for 
example indicate that these moves are "compact and localized." 4 

Housing meeting the tastes and preferences of movers was typically 
found further out from the downtown because it was frequently newer 
and the neighborhood more compatible with household aspirations than 
alternative areas available in a cross-town move. In the latter case the 
housing would be quite similar in age and character to the house being 
vacated and not as desirable. In other words, the search for new housing 
conformed to an elongated axis created by joining present locations to 
the center of the city. Specifically, an angle formed by the old and new 
residences and the CBD would be close to 0° to 180° when moves 
followed this arrangement. 5 

Individual movement angles in relation to the old residence, new 
residence, and the CBD were measured and aggregated to verify validity 
of the axial tendency, or alternatively, the circularity hypothesis. The 
percentage of moves of each of six angle categories is shown in (Table 
2). Nearly equal frequencies in each category were found rather than a 
polarization towards the extremes of 0° and 180°. This is no doubt due 
to the cramped area to which searches were of necessity confined by 


Angle Number Percent 

0- 30° 15 12.5 

31 - 60° 10 8.3 

61 - 90° 23 19.2 

91 - 120° 25 20.8 

121 - 150° 26 21.6 

151 - 180° _2_i r^ 

Total 120* 99.9 

*Public and temporary housing moves were not recorded in this tally because of the 
apparent policy to restrict projects to certain geographic areas of the city. This would 
create an artificial bias. 

Source: Calculated by Authors (after Adams, 1969) 


external forces. The paucity of standard low-cost units in the generally 
declining inner city environment and the spatial restrictions of a segre- 
gated housing market compounded the problem. Strongly axial intra- 
urban migration search strategies apparently did not operate in the 
inner city in this case, even though moves were confined to specific 
growth "corridors". 

The distribution of public housing was also important in deter- 
mining the directional character of the movement (Figure 3). In the City 
of Atlanta, public housing facilities play a significant role in rehousing 
families that are displaced by urban renewal and code enforcement 
programs. Over a third of all the moves in the sample went to public 
housing. 6 Considering the fact that low income people were involved in 
these moves, one wonders why the percentage of moves to public 
housing was not even higher. Perhaps this phenomenon was partially 
explained by the existence of sales and rental housing within the income 



O 1936 - 1942 
A 1953 - 1957 

• 1963 - 1966 

1968 - 1972 

Figure 3 

Construction of Public Housing in City of Atlanta, 1936-1972. Source: Atlanta 
Housing Authority. 


and price range of displaced families in combination with the economic 
incentive provided by the relocation payments they received. 7 

Over 50 percent of the moves to the 4.0-5.9 mile ring were to new 
public housing projects (Figure 3). It is important to note that displaced 
families were moving to newer public housing, whereas moves to rental 
and sales housing consisted of older close-in units. The reason why 
families moving into public housing did not move to older close-in 
public housing projects is explained by the low vacancy rates in these 
projects and by the fact that many were already inhabited by both 
elderly whites and blacks. This was especially the case with the housing 
projects immediately north and west of the CBD. 

Public housing projects traditionally have been placed in low 
income areas in Atlanta and this policy has resulted in confining the 
poor to specific locations. However, federal regulations now require 
that housing for low income families be located in the vicinity of the job 
market, which is rapidly decentralizing from the inner core to suburban 
locations. 8 Local officials, under a federal court order, organized a 
committee for selection of public housing sites whose main objective 
is to ". . . develop a plan to disperse future projects into the northern 
portion of the city . . . within a ten mile radius of the city limits." 9 

The future distribution of low income families would certainly 
change from the present configuration if and when the dispersal plan 
becomes a reality. A polynucleated pattern could emerge whereby small 
groups of poor black people are relocated to more affluent suburban 
areas. On the other hand, the 1973 housing moratorium and the current 
economic situation may make it virtually impossible for the develop- 
ment of new housing in the suburbs, especially for the inner city poor. 

Traditional Black Enclaves 

Although public housing projects are not widely distributed through- 
out the metropolitan region, at least nine traditionally black residential 
enclaves were extant throughout the then five-county S.M.S.A. during 
the study period. One might have suspected that these enclaves would 
have served as potential destinations for displaced inner city families; 
yet according to the sample, zero moves were directed to these wide- 
spread neighborhoods. Most outlying black enclaves are located outside 
the city limits of Atlanta, and current policies and the absence of 
housing resources preclude the distribution of low income families into 
these outlying areas. 


When residents of the Model Neighborhood Area were forced to 
leave their homes because of urban renewal or code enforcement, new 
housing options available to them were limited. Low family incomes 


often precluded either the purchase of medium value homes or renting 
adequate quarters despite the fact that they received relocation assis- 
tance. Because more than 95 percent of those affected were black, their 
subsequent housing demand was satisfied within the territory of black 
ghetto space. The findings of this study indicate that the majority of the 
displaced moved less than two miles from old residences. Most of these 
movers remained in the MNA. Although directional biases were evident 
for moves in the aggregate, search behavior patterns of individual 
households revealed that relocations were widely dispersed about the 
original residence in a restricted space rather than predominantly 
further from the old location in relation to the CBD. The notion that 
these moves conformed to the axial outward migration framework, fre- 
quently the case in middle class neighborhoods, was not supported. The 
majority of the involuntary movers relocated in housing in neighborhoods 
within the sectoral confines of the black residential space in the city. 


1 Federal funding for the Model Cities Program ended in December, 1974. The 
programs not terminated at that time in Atlanta were subsumed by the Depart- 
ment of Community Development. 

2 Leflagi, Inc., Atlanta Model Cities Housing Strategy. Atlanta, 1972, p. 5. 

3 John S. Adams, "Directional Bias in Intra Urban Migration," Economic Geog- 
raphy, Vol. 45 (October, 1969), pp. 302-323, and Truman A. Hartshorn, "Inner 
City Residential Structure and Decline," Annals, Association of American 
Geographers, Vol. 61 (1971), pp. 72-96. 

4 Lawrence A. Brown and J. Holmes, "Search Behavior in an Intra-Urban Mi- 
gration Context: A Spatial Perspective," Discussion Paper Number 13, Depart- 
ment of Geography, the Ohio State University, 1970, and Eric G. Moore, "Resi- 
dential Mobility in the City," Resource Paper Number 13, Commission on 
College Geography, Association of American Geographers, pp. 172, 16, 302-323. 

5 Ronald Abler. John S. Adams, and Peter Gould, Spatial Organization: The 
Geographer's View of the World (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1971), 
and Adams, "Directional Bias". 

6 Chester Hartman, "The Housing of Relocated Families," The Journal of the 
American Institute of Planners, Vol. 30 (1964), 266-286, discovered that on the 
national level only 17 percent of the families displaced by urban renewal 
actually moved into public housing. See also, Daniel Thurz, Where Are They 
Now: A Study of the Impact of Relocation on Former Residents of Southwest 
Washington, DC. (Washington, D.C.: Health and Welfare Council of the 
National Capital Area, 1969.) 

7 Displaced families and individuals received on the average of about $400 for 
moving expenses. Also, home owners who were forced to move received be- 
tween S7500-S8000 in replacement housing benefits, but only if they purchased 
another house. Home owners relocating in public housing could not receive 
replacement housing benefits. 


8 Sanford H. Bederman and John S. Adams, "Job Accessibility and Under- 
employment," Annals, Association of American Geographers, Vol. 64 (1974), 
378-386 and Sid Davis and Truman A. Hartshorn, "How Does Your City Grow: 
The Changing Pattern of Activity Location in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area." 
Atlanta Economic Review, Vol. 23 (July-August, 1973), pp. 4-13. 

9 Joint Committee for Selection of Public Housing Sites, Dispersal of Public 
Housing (Atlanta: City of Atlanta, 1972.) 



By Burke G. Vanderhill and Frank A. Unger 

The boundaries of seventy of the 159 counties of the State of 
Georgia exhibit irregularies in the form of rectangular offsets (Figure 1). 
When in close proximity, the offsets are reminiscent of medieval battle- 
ments in profile (Figure 2). For this reason the term "crenelation" is 
suggested for the phenomenon. Save for seven counties in eastern Ala- 
bama, crenelated boundaries are found nowhere else in the United 
States. It was to explain this unusual property of Georgia county lines, 
and to establish the conditions under which it occurred, that the present 
study was undertaken. 

The possibility that crenelation resulted from simple gerrymander- 
ing soon was dismissed, for the rectilinear pattern of the boundary off- 
sets is remarkably consistent throughout the affected counties. Despite 
local aberrations, the recurring shapes and sizes of the offsets suggested 
that they reflect the prevailing pattern of land subdivision. Analysis of 
the distribution of the crenelated boundaries within the state supported 
this idea. 

Crenelation does not occur in the eastern one-third of the state, 
that part which was first settled and in which the metes and bounds 
system of land description prevails, but is found only in those areas 
opened to entry by means of Georgia's unique land lotteries. There were 
six separate lotteries from 1805 to 1832, and in each case a large block 
of land was surveyed into square lots, in most instances oriented to the 
cardinal points of the compass. Numbering schemes varied from block 
to block as did the size of the lots. 1 Boundary offsets obviously corre- 
spond to survey lots, or fractions thereof, and their dimensions and 
orientation are derivative from the schema of the land districts in which 
they are found. 

While crenelation may be associated with Georgia's system of land 
lots, it is not a necessary concomitant of such a system. When counties 
were first established in central and western Georgia at the time of the 
land lotteries they were given straight, compass-line boundaries wherever 
physical features were not used. It seemed likely, therefore, that crene- 
lation resulted from the adjustment of county lines to certain patterns of 
land ownership. If this were so, unusual circumstances must have pre- 
vailed in Georgia in order for such a large scale manipulation of bound- 
ary lines to be accomplished. Among these circumstances, it was found, 
was an indulgent legislature which for years gave landowners along 
county borders relatively free choice as to their county of residence. 2 



Counties exhibiting 
border "crenelation" 

Figure 1. Georgia's crenelated counties. 

Investigation revealed that there is a tradition of boundary line 
modification in the State of Georgia. As early as 1820 it was felt neces- 
sary to enact a law forbidding the alteration of county boundaries by 
citizens who might change the alignment of county line roads around 
their houses for the purpose of putting their property into another 
county, or "to evade civil process, militia duty, (or) payment of tax. . . ." 3 
It was not long, however, before legislators began to honor requests for 
boundary changes. The first case of record, approved by the General 
Assembly of 1828, added the residence of a William Robertson, "on the 
north side of Little River," in Wilkes County, to the county of Taliaferro, 
but with the proviso that any case or cases pending against Mr. Robert- 
son in the courts of Wilkes County would not be interfered with or 
prejudiced. 4 


Table 1 summarizes those boundary changes enacted by sessions of 
the Georgia Legislature from 1828 to 1877 which led to crenelation. As 
can be seen, the tempo of such changes increased until the middle 1850s 
reaching a maximum during the 1855-56 session when forty-six Acts 
containing sixty-three changes resulted in the transfer of 122 lots and 
residences between counties. So heavy was the volume of boundary line 
legislation that, beginning in 1851, such legislative activity was alloted a 
special section of the official sessional reports. Crenelation activity 
declined during the Civil War years but increased again following the 
war, until brought to a virtual halt by the Constitutional Convention of 
1877 and the resultant Act of 1879 which relegated to the counties 
responsibility for transferring boundary lots between counties. 5 

_-ti.v 4 

Northwest corner 
Barlow County 

Figure 2. An example of creneation, northwest corner of Bartow 

Much of the county boundary tinkering involved redrawing the 
lines around units of property, but there were also numerous cases in 
which only the residences and "outhouses" and the land immediately 
associated with them were transferred from one county to another. 
Sometimes these moves were only temporary. As an example, in 1840 
the residence of one Ely Jones was taken from Clark County and added 






Number of Changes 

1828-1832 5 

1833-1837 8 

1838-1842 26 

1843-1847 16 

1848-1852 72 

1853-1857 113 

1858-1862 95 

1863-1867 49 

1868-1872 50 

1872-1877 97 

to Walton County, but the transfer was to remain in effect only as long 
as Mr. Jones lived there. 6 Such boundary changes were rarely specific in 
their references to land area and lot numbers, and the actual alterations 
were made at the county level. Local record-keeping left much to be 
desired, and in many cases the records have deteriorated or have been 
lost through mishandling, fire, or flood. Deficiencies in county records 
underlie most of the recent or current boundary disputes in Georgia. 7 
If boundary changes were debated or contested in the Georgia 
Assembly, sessional reports do not reveal the fact. Only the official acts 
are included, thus the rationale for the changes is not generally on 
record. It can be assumed that landowners sought adjustments which 
would in some way work to their benefit or convenience. Occasional 
references to rivers or roads seem to imply that improvement of access 
may have been a frequent concern. Lots acquired sight-unseen may 
have been bisected by sizeable streams. Tax differentials across county 
lines might have provided a motive for seeking alteration of boundaries. 
The desire to run for public office in a particular county may have 
entered in. In one exceptional case, in which the farmstead of a Samuel 
Tarver was removed from the county of Washington and placed in 
Jefferson County, the specific purpose was clear. Section 2 of this act 

"And be it further enacted, that the official acts of the said 
Samuel Tarver as a Justice of the Inferior Court of the county 
of Jefferson, be, and the same are hereby, legalized and made 
valid." 8 
Non-resident Tarver obviously was in need of legislative succor. 

A careful perusal of the Georgia legislative record reveals that it 
would be an oversimplification, however, to ascribe county line changes 
to purely personal whims. It is significant that the greatest number of 


such changes followed the formation of new counties. 9 During the time 
of the land lotteries, extremely large county units had been established 
for the administration of new and sparsely settled territories. As popu- 
lation increased over the years, the original counties were subdivided 
and then resubdivided. Each time, county boundaries were drawn along 
survey lines, or along roads or rivers, apparently without reference to 
the patterns of existing land ownership. In a time when the location of 
county seats was deemed to be of vital importance and allegiance to 
particular towns was strong, many landowners were in effect cut off by 
new political boundaries from centers in which they had conducted 
both their official business and their trading. Occasionally they found 
themselves on the wrong side of the line when new county seats were 
designated at otherwise convenient points. Those whose properties 
were divided by the new county lines became taxpayers in more than 
one county, a matter of particular inconvenience in a day when taxes 
were paid in person and travel was by wagon, carriage, or horseback. 
Public office holders in some cases became non-residents and thereby 
ineligible for their posts. To run for office in a new county might require 
facing an unfamiliar electorate. In the light of these and other problems, 
it is not difficult to understand a rash of requests for boundary adjust- 
ment. What is not yet clear is why legislators were so responsive to such 

The answer seems to lie principally in the composition of the Geor- 
gia Legislature during the period of extensive boundary modification. 
A check of the roster of the 1860 body is revealing. The great majority 
of legislators were identified either as farmers or planters. 10 In this cir- 
cumstance, county line questions had a sympathetic audience and 
apparently were handled routinely in much the way that so-called "local 
bills" are handled today. 

By the time of the Constitutional Convention of 1877, the bound- 
aries of nearly one-half of the counties in Georgia were to some degree 
crenelated and the burden of dealing with boundary bills had become 
irksome. 11 The Constitution adopted by that convention established 
certain procedures for changing county boundaries, the chief component 
of which was to pass responsibility to the counties affected. These pro- 
cedures were completely revised by the state assembly in 1879 and 
extensively modified again in 1880. Acts 468 and 469 of the 1880 session 
were subsequently codified and continue to serve as the basis for bound- 
ary change policy in the State of Georgia. 12 

The present actions required of a citizen seeking to accomplish 
a change in a county line are rather complicated and time consuming. 
He must begin with a petition stating the situation in great detail and the 
reasons for the desired change, to be followed by an advance, published, 
notice of his application. A grand jury must be empanelled in each 
county to consider his application, and if the judgments are favorable, 


the case will be further considered by certain county officials, commonly 
the Board of County Commissioners in each of the affected counties. 
If these hurdles are crossed, the results must be subjected to public 
scrutiny over a stipulated period of time. It is not surprising that few 
boundary changes have been recorded since the legislative session of 
1877. In fact, most boundary adjustments during the last one hundred 
years have related to the settlement of disputes resulting from resurveys 
of Georgia lot lines. 

The process of crenelation in Georgia and the conditions under 
which it occurred may now be understood in a general way, but it was 
thought that further insights could be gained through an examination of 
county line alteration in a specific case. Calhoun County, in the south- 
western portion of the state, was selected as an appropriate and rela- 
tively convenient example. 


Calhoun is one of a dozen counties created entirely from original 
Early County, which was laid out in 1818 at the time of the land lotteries. 
Early comprised a large block, occupying the southwestern corner of 
the State of Georgia. In response to population increases, the north- 
eastern section of original Early was designated as Baker County in 
1825, and in 1854 Calhoun was formed from parts of both Baker and the 
residual Early. The eastern half of the new county, within the Third 
Land District, was taken from Baker, while the western half, comprising 
portions of the Fourth Land District, came from Early. 

Although Calhoun County is split between two land districts, both 
were developed within the survey pattern of original Early County and 
share its idealized system of 250-acre land lots. At first glance this would 
seem to ensure uniformity throughout the county, and early maps, 
possibly created in vacuuo in some draftsman's studio, presented 
exactly such a picture. The actual ground surveys, however, proceeded 
from separate bases and were conducted by various surveying parties, 
producing a number of discrete survey blocks whose lot lines fail to 
coincide with those of neighboring blocks. Moreover, land lots rarely 
are of standard size and often are grossly misshapen. 

The designated boundaries of Calhoun County (Figure 3) were in 
part natural and in part cadastral. The eastern boundary was drawn 
along Chickasawhatchie Creek, a feeder in the Flint River system, and 
a three-mile reach of Spring Creek in the southwest was similarly used. 
The northern and southern lines conformed to existing land district 
boundaries and at the time were assumed to be true east-west lines. The 
western boundary, where Calhoun bordered what was left of Early and 
also the new Clay County formed out of Early at the same time, was 
drawn along a north-south survey line between specified land lots. 



The question of the county seat was addressed in the creating act 
and selection of a centrally located point for this purpose was authorized. 
At the county level, two crossroads settlements in the approximate 
center of the new county vied for the honor. A compromise site even- 
tually was chosen midway between the two and the town of Morgan was 
established as the county seat. 13 

The process of crenelation was set in motion immediately upon the 
establishment of Calhoun County, and in the first session of the Georgia 
Assembly following that event, the session of 1855-56, four separate bills 
were passed transferring parcels of land between the new county and its 
chief northern neighbor, Randolph. The counties of Randolph and 
Terrell, the latter touching Calhoun in the northeast, had been created 
out of the original Lee County in 1828 and shared its system of 202 1 /2- 
acre land lots. Property exchanges along this line, however, have not 
involved Terrell. 

The first transfer act, approved in December of 1855, must have 
been an error, for it added an interior lot, number 284 in the Fourth 
District of Calhoun, to the county of Randolph, whose boundary was a 
good eight miles away 14 (see Figure 4 for all Calhoun County lot 
changes). In a subsequent act of the same session, border lot 294 in the 
Fourth District of Calhoun was transferred to Randolph, which was 
undoubtedly the intention of the previous act. Strangely, the transfer 
of lot 284 was never repealed, but the matter was ignored at the county 
level. As for lot 294, what happened illustrates the chaotic boundary 
situation of the time. The earliest available map of Randolph County, 
prepared for the Secretary of State in 1867, places lot 294 in Calhoun 
County, while another state authorized map just four years later depicts 
it as in Randolph. In 1892, a Calhoun County map shows lot 294 as part 
of Randolph and a deed recorded in Calhoun in 1893 corroborates this. 
A 1924 agriculture map and a 1930 railroad map in the State Archives 
both place this lot back in Calhoun County but the 1941 Works Progress 
Administration Rural Property Survey of Calhoun relegates it to Ran- 
dolph. 15 Meanwhile, for undetermined reasons, Randolph County does 
not include this legislatively transferred lot and taxes are currently being 
paid to Calhoun County by the recorded owner. Current maps of both 
counties show lot 294 as being part of Calhoun County; Calhoun claims 
it, Randolph does not openly dispute the claim while official records fail 
to substantiate the return of this boundary lot to Calhoun. 16 Today, this 
lot is considered by both counties as a part of Calhoun, perhaps in 
recognition of its long standing de facto jurisdictional control by Cal- 
houn County. 

The original rationale for adding lot 294 to Randolph County is 
not indicated in the record. It may have related to its proximity and 
accessibility to Cuthbert, the county seat of Randolph. In any case, it 
would appear that the establishment of the new county of Calhoun 


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should not have created any division of landholdings that did not exist 
prior to 1854, for the northern boundary of Calhoun coincided with the 
northern edge of original Early, drawn in 1818, and patterns of owner- 
ship should have long since adjusted to that reality. 

The boundaries of Calhoun have undergone their most extensive 
remodeling in the area immediately north of Morgan, the county seat. 
The first changes here, introduced as a section of the Act transferring 
lot 294 to Randolph, added lots 210, 211, 246, and 247 of the Fifth 
District of Randolph to the county of Calhoun. During the same legis- 
lative session, lots 1 and 2, in the Fourth District of Randolph, were also 
added to Calhoun. Through what was probably an oversight stemming 
from the crush of county bills pushed through the 1855-56 session, a 
second and identical transfer of lots 210, 211, 246, and 247 was 
approved only a week after the initial act. Questions of legislative pro- 
cedures aside, the basic factor in the alteration of the county line in this 
instance seems to have been the close proximity of these land lots to 
Morgan in contrast to the much greater distance to Cuthbert, the 
county seat in Randolph. The likelihood of such a local prevailing factor 
is suggested in the transfer to Calhoun in 1870 of lots 39 and 40 from the 
Fourth District of Randolph. The justification for the action in this 
instance was given as follows: 

"Whereas, the residence of the two Mrs. Newberrys are situated 
upon lots of land numbers thirty-nine and forty in the fourth 
district of Randolph County, eighteen miles from the court- 
house of said county; and whereas they live only five miles 
from the court-house of Calhoun County . . . ." 17 
Factors underlying crenelation are not necessarily persistent. Lots 
210, 211, 246, and 247 have a particularly checkered history, suggesting 
changing conditions or perhaps changeable man. In 1863 these four 
lots were returned to Randolph County without explanation. The Act 
returning them was then repealed in 1865, restoring the four lots once 
more to Calhoun. During the 1860 session, lots 77 and 114 and the west 
half of 115, in the Fourth District of Randolph, were added to Calhoun. 
In 1865 the transfer of the latter two units was repealed, but lot number 
77 was left within Calhoun. 

Before legislative responsibility for boundary matters was ended 
several more parcels of land were added at the northern edge of Cal- 
houn County. Lots 285 and 286 of the Fifth District of Randolph were 
transferred in 1876, followed in 1877 by lots 248, 249, 245, the west half 
of 284, and the east half of 212, also in the Fifth District of Randolph. 
The relative lateness of these transfers suggess that new factors were 
involved. The period was one of land speculation and turnover asso- 
ciated with the break-up of pre-Civil War patterns of land ownership and 
operation in the Deep South. The peripheral position of these lots with 


reference to those transferred earlier probably represented reorganiza- 
tion or expansion of landholdings by Calhoun county citizens. 

Another group of boundary offsets appears along the southeastern 
edge of Calhoun County where it adjoins Baker. Property transfer was 
initiated here in 1860 when lots 383, 384, and 385 in the Third District of 
Calhoun were added to Baker. Since Calhoun County had been formed 
out of Baker, it seemed possible that this might be a case of reuniting a 
landholding split by the new county line. Examination of the deed 
records of Baker County revealed that these three lots were indeed parts 
of a large family holding, most of which lay south of the district line. 
Unfortunately, the record cannot be traced back beyond 1867, and the 
timing of the transfer of the lots to Baker does not negate the possibility 
that they may have been acquired after the establishment of Calhoun 
County. Subsequent boundary alteration in this district points also to 
land acquisition as a factor, but from the Calhoun side of the district 
line. In these cases, lot 181 in the Seventh District of Baker was added to 
Calhoun in 1863, and lots 140 and the north half of 101 were similarly 
transferred in 1877. 

During the investigation, a striking boundary problem was dis- 
covered along this segment of the Calhoun-Baker line. Land lot 141 of 
the Seventh District of Baker was found to have overlapping jurisdiction 
and ownership. Tax rolls, property deeds and most maps of Calhoun 
County identify an unusually large lot, number 388, mainly within 
Calhoun's Third District, which extends across the district line so as 
to include the northern half of lot 141. The county boundary usually is 
shown offset to accomodate the southern end of lot 388. Baker County, 
on the other hand, recognizes no such boundary offset, for their tax 
records and deed books include lot 141, owned in its entirety by a Baker 
County resident, thus overlapping with the end of Calhoun's lot 388. 
To confuse the issue, the present official map of Calhoun County 
ignores the evidence of county tax and deed records and identifies lot 
141 rather than an extended 388, but includes it within Calhoun. If the 
boundary was ever altered by an official act to include any part of lot 
141 in Calhoun County, there seems to be no record of it. 18 It was not 
done at the legislative level. Meanwhile, landowners from both Calhoun 
and Baker have been paying taxes on the same parcel of land for years, 
taxes based upon duly recorded deeds. That an overlapping ownership 
has continued undetected may be explained by the fact that the tract in 
question is largely forested, and there has been only marginal penetra- 
tion by clearing from each side. 

The western margins of Calhoun County came under modification 
in 1872 when a legislative act transferred the homesteads of Moses Fain 
and Ebenezer Fain to Clay County. While the property was not spe- 
cifically identified, a search of the deed books of Calhoun County re- 
vealed that the parcels were lots 344, 341, and the northwest half of 327. 


The half lot had been purchased in 1869 as an expansion of a large 
landholding mainly within Clay County. Another Fain lot, number 340, 
was added to Clay County in 1875, and a year later the north half of lot 
345 was also transferred to Clay. This parcel was not acquired by the 
Fains until eight months after its transfer, point to a remarkably coop- 
erative legislature. The crenelation of the central section of Calhoun's 
western boundary thus was entirely the product of the land operations 
of the Fain brothers. 

North of the Fain properties, lot 371 of the Fifth District of Clay 
was added to Calhoun in 1876 and, at the same time, south of the Fains, 
lots 318, 319, 320, and 348 in the Fourth District of Calhoun were trans- 
ferred to the county of Early. Records are discontinuous, but the strong 
role of specific families in the ownership patterns suggests that here too 
acquisition of border lots by citizens of the adjoining counties was 

Only a single county line change affecting Calhoun County has 
been authorized by the legislature since 1877. This was the abortive 
transfer of the greater part of the city of Arlington from Calhoun to 
Early under an Act of 1945. Much of the growth of Arlington had been 
toward the south, across the district line in Early County. While Calhoun 
took the case to court, Early exercised jurisdiction over the disputed 
area. In 1949 the Act was declared unconstitutional and the part of 
Arlington within Calhoun County was restored to Calhoun. 

Demands for boundary modification have not entirely been laid to 
rest. In 1975 the owner of an 18-acre part of lot 77, on the northeastern 
edge of the county, approached the Board of County Commissioners of 
Calhoun County to have his land transferred to Randolph. This move 
was preceded by a series of events arising from a resurvey of the county 
line in that area in 1963 which indicated that his land was in lot 77 and 
thus a part of Calhoun County while he had been paying taxes to Ran- 
dolph. He continued to pay taxes to Randolph until 1974 when'he was 
forced to remit to Calhoun. While the request was in part based upon 
the argument that lot 77 was originally within Randolph, having been 
added to Calhoun in 1860, the real purpose seems to have been to 
escape the higher tax rate of Calhoun County. The request was denied. 19 

Several conclusions may be drawn from the case study of Calhoun 
County. The subdivision of counties did disrupt established patterns, not 
only of landholding but of trade and circulation, but it seems that the 
location of county seats was at least as significant an initial factor in 
crenelation as was the delineation of the boundaries themselves. Once a 
precedent had been established, the system for boundary change 
became a permissive one, lending itself to abuse and creating boundary 
instability. Land transferred in one direction could just as easily be 
transferred in another. Record-keeping has been inconsistent and 
records are incomplete. While it is possible to verify action taken at the 


state level, what occurred within or between counties is difficult to 
document. Lastly, there seems to have been little inclination on the part 
of county officials to question the accuracy of boundary crenelations 
except in response to particular challenges. 


1 Lots of 2021/2 acres are standard in much of interior and west Georgia, but a 
250-acre lot was adopted in the southwest, 490 acres was used in the south- 
central area, 160 acres was the rule in the northern counties, while 40-acre 
"gold" lots were surveyed in the Blue Ridge. In the Appalachian foothill zone, 
both 250- and 490-acre lots were adopted. Sam B. Hilliard, "An Introduction to 
Land Survey Systems in the Southeast," Geographical Perspectives on Southern 
Development. Vol. 12 of West Georgia College Studies in the Social Sciences. 
Edited by John C. Upchurch and David C. Weaver, Carrollton, Georgia: West 
Georgia College, 1973, p. 3. 

2 James C. Bonner, "What is Not on the Georgia Map," Georgia Historical 
Quarterly. Vol. LI-3 (Sept., 1967), p. 259. 

3 Act of Dec. 22, 1820, Georgia Legislative Acts. 1820, p. 88. 

4 An Act to add a part of Wilkes County to the county of Taliaferro, Act of 
Dec. 22, 1828, Georgia Legislative Acts. 1828-29, p. 42. 

5 Mode of Transferring Boundary Lots to another County, Act of October 14, 
1879, No. 259, Georgia Legislative Acts. 1879, p. 42. 

6 An Act to add the residence of Ely Jones, now in the county of Clark, to the 
county of Walton Act of Dec. 22, 1840, Georgia Legislative Acts. 1840, p. 36. 

7 Mrs. Pat Bryant, Deputy Surveyor-General, State of Georgia, Atlanta, per- 
sonal letter, Nov. 9, 1976. 

8 An Act to change and define the line between the counties of Jefferson and 
Washington, and to legalize and make valid the official acts of Samuel Tarver 
as a Justice of the Inferior court of the county of Jefferson, Act of Dec. 21, 1839, 
Georgia Legislative Acts, 1839, p. 33. 

9 See E. Merton Coulter, "The Politics of Dividing a Georgia County: Oconee 
from Clarke," Georgia Historical Quarterly. Vol. LVII-4 (Winter, 1973), p. 475. 

10 Ralph A. Wooster, "Notes on the Georgia Legislature of 1860," Georgia 
Historical Quarterly. Vol. XLV-1 (March, 1961), p. 24. 

11 As a member of the constitutional convention, a Mr. Hill, put it, ". . . the 
county lines have often been changed for personal convenience, and for politi- 
cal reasons, and this sir, has sadly marred the maps of Georgia. I want the 
county lines drawn straight, where there are no natural boundaries." Proceed- 
ing. Georgia Constitutional Convention. 1877. Atlanta, August 25, 1877, p. 445. 

12 Change of County Lines and County Sites. Disputed County Lines. Part III, 
Chap. 23-3, Code of Georgia. Annotated. Book 8, Title 23, Atlanta, 1933. The 
pertinent references are: Sees. 23-301 and 23-302, pp. 18-20. 

13 J. C. Shippy, Clerk of the Court, Calhoun County, interview, Morgan, 
Georgia, Feb. 8, 1977. Morgan retains the administrative function today but 
little else, for the commercial activities once typical of such a county town have 
been captured almost entirely by the small city of Arlington, on the southern 
margin of the county, and by the larger city of Albany, in neighboring 
Dougherty County to the east. 


14 Information about this and all subsequent boundary changes affecting Cal- 
houn County was drawn from the various sessional reports for the state of 
Georgia, collectively known as the Georgia Statutes. Only direct quotes will 
be footnoted herein. 

15 Map of Randolph County. Georgia. N. C. Barnett. Secretary of State of Geor- 
gia. Aug. 20. 1867; Map of Randolph County. Georgia. William Phillips. C. E.. 
1871; Map of Calhoun County. Georgia. Phillip Cook, Secretary of State of 
Georgia. 1892; Deed Book J. p. 273. Oct. 6. 1893. Calhoun County Property 
Records. Morgan, Georgia; U.S.D.A. and Georgia State College of Agriculture 
map of Randolph County. 1924; Map of Randolph County. Georgia. Rural Real 
Property Survey. W.P.A. of Georgia, Atlanta, 1941. 

16 This is made clear in Deed of Conveyance, DB 27. p. 69. 1965. recorded in 
Calhoun County, the pertinent part of which follows: 

"The portion of Lot of Land No. 294 above conveyed is intended to 
include the portion of that original lot number of the 4th Land District 
of originally Early County. Georgia, later Calhoun County. Georgia, 
and transferred by an Act of the Ligislature (sic). 1855-6. at page 127, 
into Randolph County. Georgia, with no further act changing the same. 
However, the maps of Randolph County fail to include said lot and it is 
the intention of the parties to include the portion of said lot above 
described, whether it be in Randolph or in Calhoun County. Georgia." 

17 An Act to change the line between the county of Randolph and the county 
of Calhoun. Public Law No. 11, Act (undated), 1870. Georgia Legislative Acts. 
1870. p. 23. 

18 Such records were to be maintained by county officials known until recently 
as "Ordinaries." In the case of Calhoun County, many of the Ordinary's records 
were destroyed in a courthouse fire in 1919. 

19 No record of this request or denial by the Calhoun County Commissioners 
was entered into the official county minutes. Information about the latest at- 
tempt to transfer land from Calhoun to Randolph was provided by J. C. Shippy. 
Clerk of the Court, and the Calhoun County Tax Appraiser, respectively, Cal- 
houn County, interviews, Morgan. Georgia, Feb. 8. 1977. and March 15, 1977. 
and corroborated bv W. P. Wood. Clerk of the Court. Randolph County. March 
18. 1977. 





By James B. Gouger 

Most Americans, in imagining Tidewater (i.e. coastal plain) Vir- 
ginia in the period prior to the Civil War, would perceive a region domi- 
nated by the cultivation of tobacco, a landscape in which large tobacco 
plantations— each complete with a magnificent manor house, numerous 
slaves, and the air of an English country estate — line the principal rivers. 
Although Virginia was dominated by a tobacco-planting economy dur- 
ing most of the colonial period, the century preceding the Civil War 
saw a transformation of the agricultural economy in many parts of the 
Old Dominion. Tobacco became more and more a specialty crop of 
certain districts while farmers throughout the state were turning to 
commercial grain cultivation. Early agricultural censuses reveal that 
wheat harvests, for example, rose steadily in Virginia until, in 1859, the 
Old Dominion surpassed both New York and Pennsylvania to become 
the largest wheat-producer among the original American states. 

The long history of grain cultivation in the Shenandoah Valley has 
been the subject of several notable studies. 1 However, grain farming 
east of the Blue Ridge, and especially in Tidewater, has received little 
attention from historically-minded scholars. Nowhere in Tidewater was 
the transformation from a tobacco-planting region into a grain-farming 
region more complete than in that group of counties between the 
Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers known as the "Northern Neck" 
(Figure 1). 

During the first half of the eighteenth century the Northern Neck 
was one of the principal tobacco-producing regions in America. Among 
the tobacco planters of the Northern Neck were many of the wealthiest 
and most influential families of Virginia, including the Balls, the Wash- 
ington, the Lees, the Monroes, the Carters, the Fitzhughs, and the 
Fauntleroys. The remaining ancestral homes of the colonial planter 
aristocracy stand today in mute testimony to the fortunes which were 
accumulated here through the cultivation of tobacco. However, by the 
eve of the Civil War tobacco cultivation had all but disappeared from 
the Northern Neck, although it remained an important crop in adjacent 
parts of Virginia and Maryland (Figure 2). 

Most students of the colonial period have commented on the 
destructive type of agriculture which was practiced in the tobacco- 
growing regions, noting that the resulting soil exhaustion brought land 
abandonment and westward migration in search of new lands. 2 That 
colonial planters in Virginia and Maryland commonly perceived soil 


Figure 1 

exhaustion to be the inevitable result of tobacco cultivation, and that 
they frequently abandoned land when crops began to decline has been 
well documented. 3 However, this explanation alone does not account 
for the more complete abandonment of tobacco cultivation in the 
Northern Neck, as compared to adjacent areas. Nor can this anomaly 
be attributed to variations in the soil types found here. Certain soils 
which are "especially well liked for tobacco" in southern Maryland (and 
on which tobacco is still grown today south of the Rappahannock) exist 
in identical form in the Northern Neck, where tobacco has long-since 

Instead, two other factors were primarily responsible for the 
transition of the Northern Neck from a tobacco-planting region into a 
grain-farming region. First, circumstances brought the Tidewater tobacco 
planters of the Northern Neck into contact with immigrant grain farmers 
who were moving down the Great Valley from Pennsylvania and who, 
by their example, influenced the planters to a favorable disposition 
toward grain cultivation. Second, no part of the Northern Neck is more 
than eight miles from a navigable stream and all but a small portion lies 
within four miles of such a waterway. This accessibility to cheap water 
transportation gave a competitive advantage to Northern neck grain in 
the early years, despite lower crop yields than were possible in other, 
particularly interior, regions. 

The Northern Neck was part of a vast territory which, in mid- 


I I 


Figure 2 

seventeenth century, had been granted by King Charles II to a group of 
his loyal supporters in the fight against Cromwell (Figure 3). In develop- 
ing this territory, the Proprietors employed a system of granting lands 
which encouraged the accumulation by Tidewater tobacco planters of 
larger and more extensive landholdings than were generally to be found 
in the rest of Virginia or Maryland. 4 When German, Scots-Irish, 
Quaker, and other immigrants moved southwestward into the Shenan- 
doah Valley after 1730 they found that much of the most desirable 
agricultural land within the Proprietary had already been granted to 
Tidewater planters. Preferring to rent good land rather than own mean 
land, many of the immigrants chose to become tenants of the planters. 
The planters found this arrangement agreeable since it produced 
revenue to pay the quit-rents on these speculative landholdings. Further- 
more, the tenants would clear the land of forest and prepare it for the 
eventual use of the planter in cultivating his tobacco. The immigrant 
grain farmers were preferred as tenants because it was felt that they 
would be less likely to exhaust the fertility of the land than would 
Virginians with their predisposition toward tobacco cultivation. 5 
By no means were the migrants moving into the Shenandoah Valley 
from Pennsylvania the first to introduce grain cultivation into the Old 
Dominion. Wheat and corn had always been the principal food crops of 
colonial Virginia. Corn, particularly, was grown on virtually every plan- 
tation and provided the principal source of food for the labor force. 
Robert Beverley observed that "the Bread in Gentlemen's Houses, is 
generally made of Wheat" but the majority of the population "choose 




Baltimore q, -^C? -^ 



Figure 3 

the Pone [cornbread]." 6 He said, in 1702, that "All sorts of English 
Grain thrive, and increase [in Virginia] . . . And yet they don't make a 
Trade of any of them." 7 Because of low prices and high transportation 
costs "it was not possible for grain to have been cultivated in the 
Colony. . . and then sold at a profit" in England during the seventeenth 
century. 8 Only tobacco could bear the high cost of trans-Atlantic ship- 
ment and still return a profit to the planter at this time. 

After the middle of the eighteenth century, however, Virginians 
began to produce wheat and corn for export whenever tobacco prices 
were depressed. Markets for grain were opening at this time which 
offered the Virginia planter an alternative to tobacco cultivation. The 
expansion of plantation agriculture in the southern colonies created a 
demand for Indian corn within that region to feed the growing slave 
labor force. Both wheat and corn could be sold in the northern colonies 
and markets for wheat were expanding in Europe. 9 England, with a 


rapidly increasing population, "found herself drifting more and more 
toward dependence on imports." 10 By 1772, wheat production in Vir- 
ginia had expanded to such a degree that Roger Atkinson, a merchant, 
could call it "another staple . . . which will I believe in a little time be 
equal, if not superior to tobacco. . . . We shall in a few years make more 
in Virginia than all the province of Pennsylvania put together." 11 

The halcyon era for the Virginia tobacco trade had been the 
quarter-century ending in 1760. That year, however, began a decade of 
"almost continuous depression" 12 which weighed heaviest on the Tide- 
water tobacco planters. It was during this decade that planters in the 
Northern Neck, observing the relative prosperity of their tenants, began 
to turn away from tobacco cultivation and to place greater emphasis 
on the cultivation of grain. 

George Washington, who was one of the principal tobacco planters 
in the Northern Neck in 1760, wrote in 1765 that "It appears pretty evi- 
dent to me, from the prices I have generally got for my tobacco in 
London, . . . [that planters] should endeavour to substitute some other 
article in place of tobacco, and try their success therewith." 13 Washing- 
ton began to gradually reduce the acreage he planted to tobacco during 
this decade, while his sales of wheat steadily increased. 14 The biographer 
of Councillor Robert Carter of Nomini (Westmoreland County] found 
that "after 1760, he decided definitely to cultivate grain for the export 
trade." 15 Carter appears to have placed greatest emphasis on corn pro- 
duction, but he also grew considerable quantities of wheat and frequently 
speculated in this commodity, buying up large quantities for sale in 
Europe. 16 Of course, Carter was an exceptional entrepreneur; few of his 
neighbors in the Northern Neck would have engaged directly in the 
export of grains themselves. Nevertheless, the fact that Carter was able 
to purchase significant quantities of wheat shows that other planters 
were embarking upon commercial grain production. 

On the eve of the Revolution the anonymous author of American 
Husbandry reported that 

... [as for] the planters, none of them depend on tobacco 
alone, and this is more and more the case since corn has yielded 
a high price . . . They all raise corn and provisions enough to 
support the family and plantation, besides exporting consider- 
able quantities; no wheat in the world exceeds in quality that of 
Virginia and Maryland. 17 . . . The wheat and other corn . . . are 
raised principally on old tobacco plantations that are worn out 
for that plant without the assistance of much manure. 18 

The American Revolution was not a dramatic turning point for 
agriculture in the Northern Neck in the sense that it was for most social 
and political institutions. For agriculture the Revolution was a period 
of disruption which necessitated temporary adjustments in the agri- 


cultural system in response to changed market demands and the inter- 
ruption of trade. Once the war ended, agriculture in the Northern Neck 
was restored very nearly to its pre-war state and the gradual transition 
which had begun about 1760 continued. 

The principal emphasis of agriculture during the war was on food 
production, stimulated by good prices and the requirements of the Con- 
tinental armies. 19 During the war years the production of grains, espe- 
cially wheat, was greatly expanded throughout the Northern Neck, but 
most notably in western Fauquier and Loudoun Counties and in the 
Shenandoah Valley. 20 These were, of course, the areas which had re- 
ceived significant infusions of immigrant farmers from Pennsylvania and 
which had a tradition of general farming based largely on grain cultivation. 
At the beginning of the war trade between Britain and the colonies 
was suspended and trade with other areas was greatly restricted by the 
British navy. The tobacco trade during the war was, therefore, neces- 
sarily limited. Exports from Virginia fell to about twenty-five per cent of 
their pre-war levels, 21 and Harrower reported that along the Rappahan- 
nock the planting of tobacco was "intirely stopt." 22 Robert Carter, whose 
plantations were scattered throughout the Northern Neck, produced so 
little tobacco during the war that in some years he had to borrow 
tobacco from his neighbors to pay taxes which were collected in that 
commodity. After borrowing 65,000 pounds from Colonel Richard Lee 
and others, he explained "my intention was to make grain at my Planta- 
tions. I was without my Tobacco when said Tax was collecting." 23 

There was a brief resumption of tobacco cultivation in the Northern 
Neck in the years immediately following the Revolution but, increasingly, 
the Tidewater planters were finding the crop to be less profitable than 
grains. Markets were more restricted than they had been before the war: 
Before the Revolution all Europe depended on us for supplies 
of the article; but being cut off by the war, Europeans turned 
their attention to growing tobacco for themselves, and have 
continued to cultivate it all over the continent, while they have 
checked its consumption by . . . onerous taxation. 24 
Furthermore, competition was increasing as newly-settled transmontane 
regions began the production of tobacco. The problem facing the Tide- 
water tobacco planter had been identified by the author of American 
Husbandry even before the war began: 

There is no plant in the world that requires richer land, or 
more manure than tobacco; it will grow on poorer fields, but 
not to yield crops that are sufficiently profitable to pay the ex- 
pences of negroes, &. . . . Many of them [planters] have very 
handsome houses, gardens, and improvements about them, 
which fixes them to one spot; but others, when they have ex- 
hausted their grounds, will sell them to new settlers for corn- 


fields, and move backwards with their negroes, cattle, and 
tools, to take up fresh land for tobacco. 25 
To continue the cultivation of tobacco meant— as it had for more than 
a century — taking up fresh lands. Advertisements appearing in the 
Virginia Herald testify to the fact that a small but significant number of 
planters chose this option. Representative was an individual in the 
Fredericksburg area who, in 1792, offered "To be Sold, or Exchanged 
for Kentucky Lands, the Land where I now live, containing about 750 
acres." 26 Sales were especially common in northern Virginia, particularly 
in Fairfax County, where the purchasers were usually "northerners" 
intent upon the cultivation of grains. 27 

By 1790, wheat had become the staple on the heavy soils along the 
major rivers where the large estates of the Northern Neck predominated, 
its cultivation encouraged by success in the use of ground oyster shells 
for fertilizer. On the sandier "upland" soils of the Northern Neck, how- 
ever, wheat yields were less satisfactory and farmers in this area were 
beginning to turn from wheat to corn. Isaac Weld, who traversed the 
Northern Neck in 1796, was struck by the contrasts to be found there: 
Amongst the inhabitants here . . . there is a disparity unknown 
elsewhere in America, excepting in the large towns. Instead of 
the lands being equally divided, immense estates are held by a 
few individuals, who derive large incomes from them, whilst 
the generality of the people are but in a state of mediocrity. 28 
Weld was impressed with the manor houses of the wealthy planters 
along the rivers, particularly in Richmond and Westmoreland counties. 
As he crossed overland from the Potomac to the Rappahannock, how- 
ever, he observed that 

Some parts of it [the Northern Neck] are well cultivated, and 
afford good crops; but these are so intermixed with extensive 
tracts of waste land, worn out by the culture of tobacco, and 
which are almost destitute of verdure, that on the whole the 
country has the appearance of barrenness. 29 
For decades many— if not most— of the Tidewater planters had 
been aware of the shortcomings of their great dependence on tobacco: 
soil erosion, low prices, and declining yields as their lands were "worn 
out" by a rentless cultivation of the "pernicious weed." In the years after 
1760, and again with the American Revolution, grains— particularly 
wheat— offered a profitable alternative to tobacco cultivation and grain 
crops were emphasized throughout the Northern Neck and adjacent 
areas. The replacement of tobacco by widespread cultivation of wheat 
and corn, however, did not eliminate the planters' long-range problems 
of soil erosion and declining soil fertility. George Washington, in a 1787 
letter to Arthur Young, described the usual approach to grain cultiva- 
tion in the Northern Neck: 


The general custom has been, first to raise a crop of Indian 
corn, (maize,) which, according to the mode of cultivation, is a 
good preparation for wheat; then a crop of wheat; after which 
the ground is respited, (except from weeds, and every trash 
that can contribute to its foulness,) for about eighteen months; 
and so on, alternately, without any dressing, till the land is ex- 
hausted; when it is turned out, without being sown with grass- 
seeds, or roots, or any method taken to restore it, and another 
piece is ruined in the same manner. 30 
Furthermore, grains— like tobacco— proved to be subject to great fluc- 
tuations in price as overseas markets were opened and closed, and addi- 
tional problems arose with the introduction of the Hessian fly. 

The planter elite — who were tied to eastern Virginia by their manor 
houses and great estates and who were, therefore, less inclined to join 
the increasing stream of out-migrants bound for Kentucky or beyond — 
were among the first to realize that relentless cultivation of any crop 
was a practice which could not be sustained. Washington was but one 
of a number of wealthy planters who resolved "to pursue a course of 
husbandry which is altogether different and new to the gazing multitude, 
ever averse to novelty in matters of this sort, and much attached to their 
old customs." 31 His correspondence indicates that he devoted consider- 
able attention to experiments with various crop rotations, the develop- 
ment of improved techniques for tilling, and a search for a better type of 
plow. 32 Agricultural innovations and reforms spread very slowly in the 
old tobacco regions. Where they were adopted, however, it was gen- 
erally by the planter elite, who proved receptive to new farming tech- 
niques once their utility had been demonstrated— much more so, at 
least, than their poorer neighbors who frequently lacked either the 
information or the capital necessary to adapt. 

There was widespread admiration among the Northern Neck 
planters for the farming ability of the Quakers and Germans from Penn- 
sylvania who had settled much of the Shenandoah Valley. 33 The diver- 
sified agriculture which these farms introduced into the Shenandoah 
Valley had already been carried east of the Blue Ridge into the western 
parts of Loudoun and Fauquier Counties before the Revolution. At least 
by the time of that conflict these farmers were beginning to have an 
influence on the Tidewater planters who were their landlords or— as 
tobacco cultivation was extended westward— neighbors. By 1790, the 
diversified agriculture which characterized the Valley and western Pied- 
mont had been adopted (or, perhaps more correctly, was being attempted) 
by farmers scattered throughout northern Virginia. 

A report prepared for President Washington in 1790 indicated that, 
of the counties between the Potomac and the Rappahannock, only parts 
of Prince William and Fauquier were "still attached to tobacco." 34 The 


balance of the area above Tidewater was given over to what a German 
visitor called "the profitable culture of wheat," 35 together with a variety 
of other grain crops and the increasing development of meadows. 36 At 
this time Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock, and Alexandria, on the 
Potomac, were emerging as the principal market towns for the Northern 
Neck above Tidewater, based to no small degree on the growing trade in 
wheat and flour. By 1795, so little tobacco was being produced in north- 
ern Virginia it was declared that "the warehouses for the reception and 
inspection of tobacco in the town of Alexandria are no longer necessary 
for that purpose" and the inspection there was discontinued. 37 

The three decades which began with the outbreak of the French 
Revolution in 1789 and lasted until the depression which engulfed the 
United States in the wake of the Panic of 1819 was a period of relative 
prosperity for the farmers of the Northern Neck. During this period 
warfare in Europe served to raise wheat prices for several years and, 
also, markets opened in Europe and the West Indies which had 
previously been closed to American grains. 38 In response to the 
generally good prices for wheat, cultivation of that grain was increased 
along the Potomac and the Rappahannock. At this time Northern Neck 
farmers enjoyed a particular advantage in marketing their wheat, since 
Baltimore — then emerging as the principal flour milling and exporting 
center of the middle states— was easily accessible by water. 

A similar advantage of easy water shipment enabled Northern Neck 
farmers to produce corn for both the northeastern states and for the 
plantation regions of the lower South — markets denied to grain farming 
districts in the interior because of the difficulty of getting the crop 
to market. 39 

For the southern ports within the United States . . . the white 
corn is purchased almost exclusively; it is intended for blacks, 
employed in the more profitable cultivation of rice and cotton; 
and blacks are known, it is believed, every where, to entertain 
a strong disinclination, not to say antipathy, to yellow corn; 
... On the other hand, for the Eastern States, where "the folks" 
calculate very nicely the length, breadth and the weight of 
things; where they have no slaves, and where the corn is fed to 
their horses and other live stock, none but yellow corn is de- 
manded, that being considered more solid and nutritious than 
white. 40 

The distinct transportation advantage which the Northern Neck 
farmers enjoyed seems to have offset the lower yields of wheat and 
corn— compared to Loudoun County or the Shenandoah Valley— which 
they were obtaining from their lands. With good grain prices even those 
farmers who had not moved to adopt agricultural reforms were able to 
prosper. However, the Northern Neck lost its unique transportation 


advantage when, during the era of canal-building which reached its peak 
in the United States after 1825, inland grain-producing regions began to 
gain easy and relatively cheap access to the principal markets— a 
process which was completed during the era of railroad-building which, 
in turn, followed. 

When depression swept the United States in 1819, wheat prices fell 
sharply and remained generally low for the next three decades. 41 During 
this same period the Hessian fly appears to have become especially 
troublesome. 42 For Northern Neck farmers a low point was reached 
when, according to Edmund Ruffin, "the season of 1825, so fatal 
throughout the eastern half of Virginia, did not leave enough of good 
wheat on many farms to again sow the fields." 43 

In despair, many small farmers moved out of the Northern Neck 
to other areas, including Kentucky, Ohio, and Alabama. 

The man who had a small farm and a large family, whether 
with or without slaves, who had not been industrious and 
economical, was the first to feel the pressure, and off he went. 
His more frugal neighbor, or neighbors, purchased his land, 
which though poor, afforded a larger field for cultivation, 
and at least for a time, helped to sustain him who purchased it. 
In this way things progressed from bad to worse. 44 
The large estates, already the dominant feature of the Tidewater land- 
scape in the Northern Neck, became even larger as the lands of the 
emigrant small farmers were bought up. 

Of the farmers who remained, many turned to non-agricultural 
pursuits. A Northumberland County farmer wrote, in 1834, that "Many 
are engaged in the wood business," 45 supplying steamboats as well as 
shipping firewood to urban centers as far away as Norfolk, Baltimore, 
and Washington. "A stranger," this man said, "if passing through some 
parts of our county, would say it was abandoned and given up, or that it 
had been visited by either 'war, pestilence or famine.' ' ,46 From Fairfax, 
a farmer wrote "looking at the county as it was thirty six years ago, and 
at the present time, I must say that hope and hope only, keeps two thirds 
of the population of this county in it." 47 A farmer in King George 
County, with tongue-in-cheek, observed: 

Our general course of operations has been, to cultivate our 

lands in corn one year, and rest them in wheat the next; and 

so on, until they are prepared for a good crop of old field 

pines— the best crop by the way, since the introduction of 

steam boats, of the whole. 48 

The plight of farmers in the Tidewater counties of the Northern neck is 

illustrated by an 1830 letter from a man whose brother was already 

enroute to Ohio: 

For my own part I shall have to move from this country as we 


really do not make both ends meet. There is a little balance 
against us every year. The fruits of the ground are what we 
depend on for a living and for some years the depression with 
the farmers here has been very great. And our land is not 
rich so that we have to cultivate a great deal of ground to 
make a little corn. I put in my corn house last year a hundred 
barrels of corn which is 500 bushels. Out of that I shall scarcely 
sell 40 bbls. It will take the rest to feed my family and stock 
and at the present price of corn, which is only twenty-nine 
cents per bushel, will only produce me forty-eight dollars; 100 
weight of cotton, nine-fifty and about 30 bushels of wheat at 
eighty cents. ... I think on many accounts that we ought to 
remove from this place. It is certainly impossible to acquire 
property in this country via farming. And property is lessening 
in value every day. All the money is going out and none coming 
in. Were it not for the Wood business times would be much 
worse. Our land could not afford wood to cut many years 
longer at 50 cords per year [which] is what I generally cut. 49 
While it is certain that the misfortunes of these times weighed more 
heavily on the small farmers of the Northern Neck, the barons of the 
Potomac and the Rappahannock were not immune to hardship. Such 
was the case for the Lees, who lost their ancestral home, Stratford Hall, 
in 1830. M Still others, in order to meet their expenses, found it necessary 
to sell part of their slave labor force, following the example of 
a profane old gentleman, who was in the habit of selling a 
negro every year or two, to pay off his scores for corn and 
meat, who had a large number of slaves, swearing that his 
negroes should never eat him, but one the other. 51 
The sale of slaves from the old tobacco regions to the new cotton- 
producing states became an important source of revenue for many 
Virginia farmers. In the process, the huge slave population of the 
Northern Neck — a relict of the tobacco-planting days— was reduced to a 
level more appropriate for grain cultivation (a step which agricultural 
reformer John Taylor had advocated a generation earlier). For example, 
Olmsted reported that the percentage of slaves in the total population 
of Fairfax County was reduced by half between 1836 and 1856, and this 
was possible despite the fact that the county was then being transformed 
from "a wilderness of pines" to "smiling fields of grain and grass." 52 
Primarily responsible for this transformation of Fairfax County— 
indeed of the entire eastern half of the Northern Neck — was a renewed 
emphasis on the use of fertilizers, particularly Peruvian guano. During 
the last two decades preceding the Civil War farmers throughout the 
upper South embraced the use of guano with enthusiasm which was 
unprecedented for an agricultural innovation. 


Glowing reports of the "most beneficial effect" of guano on a 
variety of crops in England began to appear in the American agricultural 
press after 1840. 53 In 1844, the first shipload to be imported into the 
United States reached Baltimore. 

It was at first used with caution and in very limited quantities, 
from the twofold reason of, first, its high cost, and secondly, 
the doubts with practical farmers of the possibility of so small 
a quantity of "dust" exerting such wonderful power upon vege- 
tation as it was represented to do. M 
The results of these early trials aroused considerable interest among 
farmers as the experimenters began to report dramatic increases in their 
crops. Wheat was particularly benefited by guano, the yields frequently 
being doubled. 55 

Upon old worn-out land, long considered worthless, the effect 
has in many instances been magical, frequently producing from 
twenty to twenty-five bushels of wheat from a single application 
of 250 lbs. per acre, where not a return for the seed could have 
been expected before. 56 

In view of these results it is not surprising that guano gained quick 
acceptance, even among farmers for whom fertilization had not been a 
common practice. Despite rapidly increasing shipments (Baltimore, the 
principal port for importation, received 2,700 tons in 1849, 6,800 tons in 
1850, and 25,000 tons in 1851), and prices held artificially high by the 
Peruvian government, "only on rare occasions did the supply equal 
the demand." 57 

The introduction of Peruvian guano was of particular importance 
to the Northern Neck, for it proved to be most beneficial on soils where 
other fertilizers had had little effect. 58 

No lands in the country are so well adapted to the use of guano 
as those of the forest [upland] Northern Neck. While its appli- 
cation on the river lands of this Neck has yielded but a small 
profit [these "necklands" were already producing good wheat, 
especially when fertilized with marl), and its use on the south 
side of the Rappahannock been attended with scarce any 
profit at all, throughout the whole forest of which we are 
speaking, it has quadrupled the crop, and yielded an average 
profit of at least a hundred per cent. Before the introduction of 
guano wheat was little cultivated in this region. Now, we be- 
lieve, taking into the estimate the cheapness of land, the 
cheapness and facility of cultivation, and the cheapness of 
freights, that wheat is a far more profitable crop in the forest 
of the Northern Neck, than in the valley of Virginia, which 
latter, has always been considered one of the best wheat- 
growing sections of the Union. 59 


Additional evidence of the role of guano in transforming the 
Northern Neck from a state of mediocrity into a major grain-producing 
region can be seen in an address made, in 1853, to the Rappahannock 
Agricultural and Mechanical Society. The speaker, Willoughby Newton, 
asserted that 

in no part of the world has [agricultural] improvement been 
more rapid, or its results more profitable, than in the favored 
region which we inhabit. Wheat, which was formerly considered 
so precarious a crop that its culture was almost abandoned, 
has now, by improved husbandry, the use of lime, marl, clover, 
plaster, and the best of all fertilizers, guano, become our great- 
est staple, in the production of which we can defy the competi- 
tion of the world. So rapid has been the improvement, and so 
great the increased profits of agriculture, that it may be safely 
affirmed, that in the short space of seven years, the value of the 
landed property of Eastern Virginia has been fully doubled; 
whilst of many neighborhoods, it has been quadrupled, and 
some particular farms increased more than ten fold. I can see 
no reasonable limit to this improvement, if we continue to 
pursue the same course of steady, enlightened and hopeful in- 
dustry, that has now become almost universal. The only mis- 
giving that ever crosses my mind, is the fear that the supply of 
our greatest fertilizer [Peruvian guano] may become insufficient, 
or be entirely cut off. 60 

The continuing improvement in the lot of the Tidewater farmer 
which Newton forecast was to be swiftly realized. By the early 1850s it 
was reported that "the demand for wheat, for exportation, is now very 
great, and increasing, and the highest prices are paid." 61 Furthermore, 
even as Newton was delivering his address, the clouds of war were, for 
the first time since Waterloo, gathering over Europe. Noting the depen- 
dence of England on the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions for grain, 
and anticipating the Crimean War, J. D. B. DeBow concluded 
The consequence of a Turko-Russian war would be, that all 
that immense quantity of wheat which has hitherto flown into 
the English markets, would immediately cease to flow in that 
direction. It would all be absorbed at home. The produce of 
the Baltic, too, would be stopped; and then England's only reli- 
ance for wheat and other products would be on America. . . . 
Brighter prospects were never held out to the agricultural 
world of America than at present. 62 

Wheat prices did rise with the outbreak of the Crimean War and 
tended to remain high through the remaining years before the American 
Civil War. This, together with the expanded wheat production which 
accompanied the introduction of guano, ushered in a period of prosperity 


in the Northern Neck which exceeded even that of the halcyon days of 
the colonial tobacco trade. Wheat production in the five Tidewater 
counties of the Northern Neck almost doubled between 1850 and 1860 
(in Lancaster County the increase was 231%) (Figure 4). 

As wheat production increased in the Northern Neck, this "rich and 
productive region"' more than ever became "tributary to Baltimore," the 
principal flour-milling and grain exporting center of the upper South. 63 
The fine landings on this [Rappahannock] river [and on the 
Potomac as well] now enable the farmers to dispense with 
neighborhood stores and villages altogether. The steamboats 
for Baltimore and Fredericksburg pass them four times a week, 
and it is more convenient to procure merchandise from those 
towns, than from stores a few miles off. Some of them have 
granaries on the river bank, with short troughs, or spouts, 
running into the hold of the vessel, in the river below. 64 



Figure 4 

So convenient was the steamboat service that many Northern Neck 
residents found it easier to travel to Washington or Baltimore "than to 
cross our ferries, with a cold, head wind." 65 The steamboats were not 
without their discomforts, however. One traveler, passing from Balti- 
more to Fredericksburg in 1854, remarked 

Your nose, I will grant, is odorated pretty freely, there being 
now a guano epidemic among the planters of the Old Dominion. 
No vessel, I hear, leaves Baltimore for "long shore" at this 
season, which is not freighted with it. The "Virginia" had 


hundreds of bags amidships, the trip I made in her; indeed, it 
seemed to me as if the Chincha Islands had all been tumbled 
upon her deck. I shall never forget the bouquet; it was inhaled 
by me with every thing I ate; indeed, after attaining my journey's 
end, it was a long time before I forgot the rich Islands of Peru. 66 
It is unlikely, however, that the farmers of the Northern Neck ob- 
jected to sharing passage with the guano, despite its pungent aroma. 
This was the substance which had made them ". . . already the richest 
agricultural population in America, averaging, we should think, a 
property to each man, whose lands adjoin the river, of near a hundred 
thousand dollars." 67 

On the eve of the Civil War the residents of the Northern Neck were 
as devoted to wheat as they had been before 1760 to tobacco, while the 
old staple was all but forgotten (Figure 5). During the century from 1760 


Figure 5 

to 1860 the planters of the Northern Neck, having far-ranging interests 
and contacts, had reacted swiftly to changing economic circumstances 
and, whenever possible, capitalized on their transportation advantage. 
Influenced by the prosperity of tenants on their interior landholdings, 
they had led the shift from tobacco planting to cash grain farming in 
Tidewater. They were the leading innovators during the period of the 
agricultural revival and contributed to out-migration during the depres- 
sion which followed by buying out neighboring farmers and selling off 
slaves. With the introduction of a fertilizer which again made wheat 
farming profitable in Tidewater, they had the information and the 
capital to be among the first adopters. 


As a region characterized by the production of cash grains on 
Tidewater plantations with slave labor, the Northern Neck appears to 
have been unique. The difference between the Northern Neck and sur- 
rounding regions, however, was generally one of degree rather than 
kind. The agricultural changes which took place in the Northern Neck 
between 1760 and 1860 either anticipated or reflected changes which 
were taking place in neighboring regions, although the wealthy planters 
who dominated the Northern Neck carried each of these changes to 
an extreme. 


1 For example. Robert D. Mitchell. "The Commercial Nature of Frontier 
Settlement in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia," Proceedings of the Associa- 
tion of American Geographers, Vol. I (1969), 109-113; and "The Shenandoah 
Valley Frontier." Annals, Association of American Geographers, Vol. 62, No. 3 
(September, 1972), pp. 461-486. 

2 e.g., Clement Eaton, A History of the Old South (New York: Macmillan, 
1949), pp. 21, 27. 

3 Avery Odell Craven, Soil Exhaustion as a Factor in the Agricultural History 
of Virginia and Maryland. 1606-1860 (Urbana: University of Illinois. 1925). 

4 Willard F. Bliss, "The Rise of Tenancy in Virginia," The Virginia Magazine 
of History and Biography. Vol. 58. No. 4 (October. 1950). pp. 428-429. 

5 Fairfax Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William: A Study of Origins in 
Northern Virginia in Two Volumes (Richmond: The Old Dominion Press, 
1924). p. 401:' Bliss. "The Rise of Tenancy," pp. 427-441. 

6 Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia \ 1705|. (reprinted, 
Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1968), p. 292. 

7 Ibid., p. 316. 

8 Philip Alexander Bruce, Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth 
Century (2 volumes, New York: Peter Smith, 1935). p. 257. 

9 For a discussion of trade during this period see Arthur Pierce Middleton, 
Tobacco Coast. A Maritime History of Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era 
(Newport News: The Mariners' Museum, 1953). 

10 Lewis Cecil Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States To 
1860 (2 volumes, New York: Peter Smith, 1941), p. 165. 

11 "Letters of Roger Atkinson," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 
Vol. XV (April, 1908), p. 352. 

12 L. C. Gray, "The Market Surplus Problem of Colonial Tobacco." William and 
Man- College Quarterly Historical Magazine. Vol. VII, No. 4 (October, 1927), 
pp. '235-236. 

13 The Writings of George Washington; Being His Correspondence. Addresses. 
Messages, and Other Papers. Official and Private. Selected and Published from 
the Original Manuscripts . . . |edited by Jared Sparks], (12 Volumes, Boston: 
American Stationers' Company, 1837), Vol. 12, pp. 262-263. 

14 Ibid., pp. 257-263; Diaries of George Washington. 1748-1799 [edited by John 
C. Fitzpatrick], (4 volumes, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1925), Vol. I. pp. 
165-345 > passim; Gray, History of Agriculture, p. 606. 


15 Louis Morton, Robert Carter of Nomini Hall. A Virginia Tobacco Planter of 
the Eighteenth Centurv (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., 1941), p. 

16 Ibid., pp. 133-150, passim; Journal & Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian. 1773- 
1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion. | edited by Hunter Dickinson 
Farish|, (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, Inc., 1945), p. 249. 

17 American Husbandry. Containing an Account of the Soil. Climate. Produc- 
tion and Agriculture of the British Colonies in North America and the West 
Indies. . . by an American. |2 volumes, London: J. Bew, 1775; reprint edited by 
Harry J. Carman] (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939), p. 163. 

18 Ibid. p. 187. 

19 Gray, History of Agriculture, p. 585. 

20 Robert D. Mitchell. "The Shenandoah Valley Frontier," p. 480; Gray, History 
of Agriculture, pp. 581-583, passim. 

21 R. A. Brock, "A Succinct Account of Tobacco in Virginia," Report on the 
Productions of Agriculture as Returned at the Tenth Census. (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1883), pp. 223-225. 

22 John Harrower, The Journal of John Harrower: An Indentured Servant in the 
Colony of Virginia. 1773-1776 [edited by Edward Miles Riley], (Williamsburg: 
Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.. 1940), p. 111. 

23 Morton, Robert Carter of Nomini, pp. 133-134. 

24 Brock, Succinct Account of Tobacco," p. 225. 

25 American Husbandry, pp. 164-165. 

26 Advertisement by Robert Smith in the Virginia Herald and Fredericksburg 
Advertiser. September 6, 1792. 

27 Gray, History of Agriculture, p. 608. 

28 Isaac Weld, Travels Through the States of North America, and the Provinces 
of Upper and Lower Canada. During the Years 1795. 1796, and 1 797 (London: 
John Stockdale, 1800), p. 113. 

29 Ibid. p. 116. 

30 George Washington to Arthur Young, November 1, 1787. Letter reprinted in 
The Farmers' Register, Vol. V, No. 6 (October 1, 1837), p. 323. 

31 George Washington to Arthur Young, August 6, 1786. Ibid., p. 322. 

32 See, for example, "Letters From His Excellency George Washington to 
Arthur Young, Esq., F.R.S., and Sir John Sinclair, Bart. M.P., Containing an 
Account of his Husbandry . . . ," The Farmers' Register, Vol. V, No. 6 (October 
1, 1837), pp. 321-358, and Vol. V, No. 7 (November 1, 1837), pp. 385-389; and 
Diaries of George Washington, Vol. I, pp. 140-142, 164-165, 374, passim. 

33 See, for example, "Letters From His Excellency George Washington to 
Arthur Young," Ibid.; and "Dr. David Stuart's Report to President Washington 
on Agricultural Conditions in Northern Virginia," [edited by Gertrude R. B. 
Richards], The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 61, No. 3 
(July, 1953), pp. 283-292. 

34 "Dr. David Stuart's Report to President Washington on Agricultural Condi- 
tions in Northern Virgina," Ibid., p. 288. 

35 Johann David Schoepf, Travels in the Confederation [1783-1784], [translated 
and edited by Alfred J. Morrison], (Philadelphia: William J. Campbell, 1911), 
p. 44. 

36 "Dr. David Stuart's Report to President Washington," pp. 286-290. 


37 Fairfax Harrison, Landmarks of Old Prince William, p. 416. 

38 Gray, History of Agriculture, pp. 817, 1039. 

39 Ibid. p. 812. 

40 American Farmer. Vol. I (Friday, April 30, 1819), pp. 39-40. 

41 Gray, History of Agriculture, pp. 817, 1039. 

42 American Farmer, Vol. I, pp. 301-302. 

43 Edmund Ruffin, "Sketch of the Progress of Agriculture in Virginia, and the 
Causes of its Decline, and Present Depression," Farmers' Register, Vol. Ill, No. 
12 (April, 1836), p. 759. 

44 Farmers' Register. Vol. II, No. 10 (March, 1835), p. 612. 

45 Farmers' Register. Vol. I, No. 10 (March, 1834), p. 630. 

46 Ibid. 

47 Farmers' Register. Vol. I, No. 9 (February, 1834), p. 553. 

48 Farmers' Register. Vol. I, No. 3 (August, 1833), p. 186. 

49 Frederick Wood ["Kennersley," Northumberland County] to George Wood 
[Washington, D.C.], April 10, 1830. Letter in Kenner MSS, Northumberland 
County Historical Society, Heathsville, Virginia. 

50 Westmoreland County Deeds & Wills (MSS), Book 26, pp. 286-293. 

51 Farmers' Register. Vol. II, No. 10 (March, 1835), p. 612. 

52 Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, with 
Remarks on their Economv\ 1856], (New York: Negro Universi'ies Press, 1968), 
p. 213; also see pp. 55-57, 273-274, 279. 

53 See, for example, Farmers' Register, Vol. IX, No. 9 (September 30, 1841), 
pp. 556-557. 

54 DeBow's Review, Vol. XIII, No. 6 (December, 1852), p. 627. 

55 DeBow's Review, Vol. IX, No. 2 (August, 1850), p. 203; Vol. XIII, No. 6 
(December, 1852), p. 628; American Farmer, Vol. IX, No. 4 (October, 1853), 
p. 110; Vol. IX, No. 11 (May, 1854), p. 347. 

56 DeBow's Review, Vol. XIII, No. 6 (December, 1852), p. 628. 

57 Craven, Soil Exhaustion, p. 149; also, DeBow's Review. Vol. XIV, No. 5 (May, 
1853), p. 472; Vol. XVI, No. 5 (May, 1854), pp. 495-461. 

58 Craven, Soil Exhaustion, p. 148; DeBow's Review, Vol. XIII, No. 6 (Decem- 
ber, 1852), p. 629. 

59 George Fitzhugh, "The Northern Neck of Virginia," DeBow's Review, Vol. 
XXVII, No. 3 (September, 1859), p. 282. 

60 Willoughby Newton, address before the Rappahannock Agricultural and 
Mechanical Society, November 10, 1853, in American Farmer, Vol. IX (New 
Series), No. 11 (May, 1854), p. 347. 

61 DeBow's Review, Vol. XV, No. 3 (September, 1853), p. 308. 

62 Ibid. p. 309. 

63 George Fitzhugh, "The Valleys of Virginia— The Rappahannock," DeBow's 
Review. Vol. XXVI, No. 3 (March, 1859), p. 269. 

64 Ibid., p. 276. 

65 Ibid. p. 279. 

66 The Fredericksburg News. Vol. VIII, No. 55 (January 15, 1855). 

67 Fitzhugh, "The Valleys of Virginia," p. 270. 


'ia ' y 



Volume XVII 

June, 1978 



JUL 3 11978 

Published By 


A Division of the University System of Georgia 



Volume XVII June, 1978 



Contributors iii 

Foreword John C. Upchurch v 

Preface Robert H. Claxton vi 

A Shared Prosperity: W.R. Grace & Company and 

Modern Peru, 1852-1952 Lawrence A. Clayton 2 

Our Man in Honduras: Washington S. 

Valentine Kenneth V. Finney 13 

Diplomatic Dullard: The Career of Thomas Sumter, Jr. and 
Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the 
Portuguese Court in Brazil, 1809-1821 Phil Brian Johnson 21 

The Personnel Approach to United States Relations with 

Chile, 1823-1850 T. Ray Shurbutt 37 

The Piatt Amendment and Dysfunctional Politics in Cuba: 

The Electoral Crises of 1916-1917 Louis A. Perez, Jr. 49 

United States Involvement in Panamanian Politics during 

Taft's Administration Frank Gerome 61 

John Wesley Butler and the 

Mexican Revolution, 1910-1911 Richard Millett 73 

Carleton Beals on the Ambiguities of Revolutionary 

Change in Mexico and Peru John A. Britton 89 

Mexican Oil Diplomacy and the 

Legacy of Teapot Dome James J. Horn 99 



Vol. II, 1963, Georgia in Transition. 

Vol. Ill, 1964, The New Europe. 

Vol. IV, 1965, The Changing Role of Government. 

Vol. V, 1966, Issues in the Cold War. 

Vol. VII, 1968, Social Scientists Speak on Community Development. 

Vol. VIII, 1969, Some Aspects of Black Culture. 

Vol. XI, 1972, Georgia Diplomats and Nineteenth Century Trade 

Vol. XII, 1973, Geographic Perspectives on Southern Development. 

Vol. XIII, 1974, American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods. 

Price, each title, $2.00 

Vol. XIV, 1975, Political Morality, Responsiveness, and Reform 
in America. 

Vol. XV, 1976, The American Revolution: The Home Front. 

Vol. XVI, 1977, Essays on the Human Geography of the 
Southeastern United States. 

Price, each title, $3.00 

Copyright c 1978, West Georgia College 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Thomasson Printing Co., Carrollton, Georgia 30117 

Price, $3.00 

West Georgia College is an 
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer 


CLAYTON, LAWRENCE A., is Associate Professor at the University 
of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University 
in 1972 and has published articles in the Hispanic American Historical 
Review, Journal of Latin American Studies, The Americas, Latin Amer- 
ican Research Review. Revista del Archivo Historico del Guayas, and 
others. His Los astilleros de Guayaquil colonial: historia de una industria 
will be published in Guayaquil in 1978. 

FINNEY, KENNETH V., who received his Ph.D. from Tulane, is pre- 
sently Assistant Professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College at Rocky 
Mount. He was granted a Shell Foundation Fellowship and is a Danforth 
Associate. His articles have appeared in the Revista del Archivo y 
Biblioteca Nacional (Honduras) and in R.L. Watson, Ed., Urbanization 
and Agriculture: A Problem in National Modernization (1976). 

JOHNSON, PHIL BRIAN, Associate Professor at San Francisco State 
University, also received a doctorate from Tulane. He is the author of 
several works on the life of Rui Barbosa. His articles have appeared in 
the Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs. The Americas, 
and the Revista do Instituto Historico e Geogrdfico Brasileiro. Dr. 
Johnson serves on the editorial boards of the Proceedings of the Pacific 
Coast Council on Latin American Studies and The New Scholar. In 
addition to a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for research in Brazil, he has 
received grants from the Organization of American States and the 
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 

SHURBUTT, THOMAS RAY, received his A.B. from West Georgia 
College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 1971. 
From 1967-1972, he taught at Albany Junior College. Since 1972, he has 
been Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Georgia Southern Col- 
lege. His major research area is mid-nineteenth century Chile. 

PEREZ, LOUIS A., is Associate Professor at the University of South 
Florida in Tampa, having received his doctorate in 1970 from the Uni- 
versity of New Mexico. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship, 
Dr. Perez is the author of over two dozen articles which have appeared 
in the Hispanic American Historical Review, Inter-American Economic 
Affairs, The Americas, Science and Society, Journal of Latin American 
Studies, and the South Eastern Latin Americanist. His four books 
include Army Politics in Cuba, 1898-1958 (1976). His current research 
focuses upon Cuba during the era of the Piatt Amendment. 


GEROME, FRANK A., received his doctorate from Kent State University 
and is presently Associate Professor at James Madison University in 
Harrisonburg, Virginia. His recent article relatedto Taft's policy toward 
Latin America was published in the SECOLAS Annals in March, 1977. 

MILLETT, RICHARD, received his A.B. from Harvard and Ph.D. from 
New Mexico. He is currently Professor of History at Southern Illinois 
University at Edwardsville and Chairman of the Committee on Central 
American-Caribbean Studies of the Conference on Latin American 
History. He is the author of Guardians of the Dynasty and some fifteen 
articles. With Marvin Will, he edited The Restless Caribbean which will 
be published late in 1978. 

BRITTON, JOHN A., is Associate Professor at Francis Marion College. 
He holds the A.B. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
and the Ph.D. from Tulane. His publications include Educacion y radi- 
calisms) en Mexico, 1931-1940 (1976) and articles in Historia Mexicana, 
Journal of Latin American Studies and The Americas. 

HORN, JAMES J., is Associate Professor at State University College of 
New York at Brockport and Director of the SUNY Overseas Academic 
Program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. A former president of the New York 
State Latin Americanists, he has published several articles on United 
States-Latin American relations. He is currently writing about health 
and socio-economic development in Latin America. 



This volume continues the precedent of utilizing the services of a 
volume editor working under the loose supervision of a general editor, 
a policy begun with the 1973 issue of Studies in the Social Sciences. 
Responsibility for selecting the theme of the present volume, the nine 
papers herein included, and initial editorial refinement was that of the 
volume editor. The role of the general editor was limited to broad con- 
sultation with the volume editor, final editing, and liaison with the editor. 

Volume topics for the past six issues of Studies have rotated among 
various social science disciplines. This year's issue devolved to the 
History Department, and it was the decision of the volume editor to 
produce an issue in which several Latin American scholars explore 
aspects of the dependency theory. The editors believe that this collec- 
tion of essays represent significant contributions to the field of Latin 
American history by reason of their using new sources, exploring new 
areas, and employing new theoretical approaches. 

As in the past, this journal is financed partially by The University 
System of Georgia. It is distributed gratis to libraries of state supported 
colleges and universities in Georgia, and to selected institutions of 
higher education in each southern state. Interested individuals or li- 
braries may purchase copies for S3. 00 each to help defray printing and 
mailing costs. Standing orders for the annual series are available at 
reduced rates. 

It is with considerable pleasure that the editors submit to you this 
volume on Latin America. 

John C. Upchurch 
Professor and Chairman 
Department of Geography 
General Editor 


No modern nation is independent. Citizens of one nationality regu- 
larly become involved in the affairs of other countries through commer- 
cial, financial, diplomatic, political, religious, media, and other channels. 
Even so, only in recent years have historians given attention to the 
systematic study of this matter. 

Developing an analytic model aids the investigator by demonstra- 
ting a possible relationship between seemingly isolated events, by guiding 
the researcher into new areas of study, and by enabling the specialist to 
project behavior patterns. During the past decade, perhaps by default, 
dependency theory has emerged as a popular theoretical point of departure. 

Dependency theory has certain fundamental assumptions. (1) In 
every society, there are two classes: the ruling elite which, by monopo- 
lizing power, controls the powerless majority. (2) The government serves 
only the elite. There is essential continuity in foreign policy which joins 
together the elite interests of different nations. (3) Such a fusing of 
interests is of far greater benefit to the elite in the nation with the 
greatest quantity of technology, surplus capital, and merchandise to 
export. The ruling classes elsewhere are satisfied with lesser status and 
gain as agents of their superior counterparts. In effect, their nations are 
underdeveloped economic colonies, exporting raw materials to a devel- 
oped metropolis. (4) Business firms built upon this unified linkage sys- 
tem must maximize profits to survive. Metropolitan decision-makers 
have no choice except to perpetuate the dependency of the colonies by 
regulating credit, supporting authoritarian government, and preventing 
the growth of competitive modernization by remitting profits from the 
periphery to the center of the system. (5) Ultimately, this movement of 
capital internationalizes the class conflict inherent in individual societies. 
An organized and enlightened working class majority will reorient pro- 
duction decisions away from profit-taking and toward meeting basic 
human needs without interpersonal and international exploitation. 

Proponents of dependency theory have reminded others that power 
is not allotted equally. They challenge researchers to investigate the 
holders of power and their methods of acquiring and retaining it. Never- 
theless, they often speak in generalities, confuse cause with effect, and 
find psychological security in gathering for a service of inflexible, reaf- 
firming liturgy at professional meetings. Dependency assumptions need 
to be respected, but they also need to be tried and modified by many 
case studies. 

Each essay in this volume makes a contribution relevant to that end 
and leaves questions for additional study. Lawrence Clayton delves into 
the history of one particular nineteenth century firm which rapidly grew 
into a diversified transnational, due more to fortuitous circumstances 
than to deliberate design. More individual business histories are welcome 
if less than diehard supporters can have access to company records. 


Private enterprise indeed seeks public instrumentalities to support its 
goals, according to Kenneth Finney who nonetheless offers a variant 
theoretical basis. Phil Johnson and Ray Shurbutt demonstrate that early 
United States envoys to Brazil and Chile definitely tried to serve the 
commercial elite, but such representatives did not fare terribly well in 
that endeavor. Johnson reiterates the fact that neutral maritime principles 
set forth in Washington in the years before the War of 1812 were sub- 
stantive issues in South Atlantic relations. Shurbutt describes State 
Department personnel in Chile as interfering in local affairs as much as 
any businessman might. Yet vast distance from the metropolis and per- 
sonal incompetence precluded any effective and coherent policy toward 
the Southern Cone. 

Frank Gerome and Louis Perez provide two examples of ambitious 
Caribbean parties actively cultivating United States involvement as they 
played protectorate politics. Enticed into that web, the State Depart- 
ment further entangled itself in legalism and moralism. Manipulating 
people with the possibility of having the Marines sent in was as powerful 
a force as their actual presence. 

Most United States citizens have known Latin America only indi- 
rectly, generally through the secular press and often through missionary 
reports to church memberships. Richard Millett shows researchers that 
missionaries who ventured where other North Americans seldom went 
left frequently overlooked accounts of social and political conditions. 
Millett presents a Methodist leader, preoccupied with support for the 
established order, but caught up in the early events of the Mexican 
Revolution. John Wesley Butler favored moral regeneration and abhorred 
armed intervention or upheaval. John Britton calls attention to the fact 
that the degree to which correspondents interpret events accurately 
determines how the North American public reacts. He presents journalist 
Carleton Beals as an example of a sophisticated analyst of rural moderni- 
zation in Latin America. Of course, not all religious figures have been as 
staid as Butler nor all reporters as perceptive as Beals. Finally, James 
Horn examines the vehicles within the United States for expressing 
public sentiment about Latin American policy and the reasons why 
there was no direct involvement in Mexico despite the sheer size of the 
challenged oil interests. 

Latin American studies has been a frequent theme for essays in the 

West Georgia College Studies in the Social Sciences. Eugene R. Huck 

edited Volume VI which contained the 1967 papers of the Southeastern 

Conference on Latin American Studies. Volumes I, V, VIII, and XI also 

included selections on Latin America in relation to other themes. Volume 

XVII therefore continues and expands this tradition with contributions 

from several states, discussing several Latin American nations. 

Robert H. Claxton 

Associate Professor of History 

Volume Editor 




AND MODERN PERU, 1852-1952* 

By Lawrence A. Clayton 

In the language of social scientists the term "modernization" has 
been interpreted in one sense to mean the emergence of a nation or 
people into the industrial and, in some cases, the post-industrial age, 
with all the accompanying assets and ills that one commonly associates 
with a modern, industrialized state. Almost, if not actually all, of the 
contemporary practitioners that concern themselves in one way or 
another with this phenomenon — the sociologists, the political scientists, 
the economists, and those few individuals whose mastery of the inter- 
disciplinary approach makes them difficult to categorize— borrow from 
the historical background of their subject. In effect, they are all historians 
before they pass into the realm of their own disciplines. Nonetheless, the 
crucial framework for their studies, analyses, and paradigm-building 
is historical in nature. 

Keeping the above in mind, the study encompassed by the title to 
this article deals with modernization from an historical perspective. The 
subject, W. R. Grace and Company, actively fostered change and devel- 
opment—aspects of modernization— through its commercial, agricultural, 
and industrial activities in Peru. 

When a young Irishman named William Russell Grace arrived at 
Callao in 1852 he entered a country that had only tentatively been 
brushed by the modern age. It was a nation steeped in traditional ways 
and marked by rhythms more in consonance with its Incaic and Hispanic 
origins than those of the dynamic, industrializing nations of Europe and 
North America. When Grace's grandson, Joseph Peter, accepted the 
final expropriation in the 1960s of the last major properties owned by 
the company founded by his grandfather, a great portion of Peru had 
emerged, for better or worse, into the age called "modern". W. R. Grace 
& Co. was certainly neither strictly nor exclusively the handmaiden that 
accompanied Peru in this dramatic century. Yet this company introduced 
more commercial enterprises, more modern technologies, more indus- 
tries, and more of the sinews of a modern and international transporta- 
tion system than any other agency, company, or individual in that 

*This article is an extended version of a paper presented at the Southern His- 
torical Association meeting in New Orleans (November 12, 1977). The author 
wishes to acknowledge gratefully The University of Alabama Research Grants 
Committee for assistance during the summer of 1977. 


period. Furthermore, the relationship between company and country 
was more often marked by cooperation and mutual regard in contrast to 
the adversary tone that developed so commonly between major United 
States corporations and Latin American nations in this same period. 

When Grace began operations in the early 1850s, Peru remained 
largely on the fringes of the rapidly industrializing states of the northern 
hemisphere. There the textile manufacturer of Manchester, the iron 
maker of the Ruhr, and the railroad entrepreneur of New York all de- 
pended ultimately upon an expanding labor pool and an expanding 
market. These were, in turn, knit together with increasing efficiency by 
a rapidly developing transportation system based upon the utilization 
of the remarkable steam engine. In 1850 in Peru there existed no rail- 
roads, no iron foundries of scale, no mechanized textile mills, and very 
few people with an urge to change the cast and character of the nation's 
society and economy. Then in the 1840s a dramatic transformation oc- 
curred. Compacted bird droppings, guano, that had accumulated for 
centuries on islands off the Peruvian coast suddenly gained the attention 
of farmers in those very countries of Europe and North America that 
were currently in the vanguard of the industrial revolution. Between 
1840 and 1847 the export of guano jumped from 6,125 tons to 100,000 
tons; ten years later over 600,000 tons were being exported. 1 By 1860 
"guano had become one of the largest of all Latin American exports . . . 
worth over $24,000,000." 2 Peru was being integrated as a major exporter 
into the machinery that drove the developing economies of the indus- 
trializing countries. 

Guano itself was not an unknown ingredient. It has been in use for 
hundreds of years in Peru to enrich the soil when European and Ameri- 
can farmers discovered its remarkable potency in the 1830s and 1840s. 3 
Rapid agricultural growth that underpinned the rise of the industrial 
state placed a premium on these bird droppings rich in nitrogen that 
were collected from the Chincha Islands off southern Peru. By the time 
young Grace appeared in Callao, scores of European and American 
ships were making regular calls at the islands to load the fertilizer. 

William Grace had arrived in Peru at the age of nineteen with a 
group of Irish immigrants who were slated to work on a sugar plantation 
near Lima. This group of immigrants had been drive from Ireland by 
famine and hard times like so many others of their countrymen in that 
era. However, they failed to prosper in Peru and either succumbed to 
disease or moved on within a year or two of their arrival. 4 Young Grace 
neither died nor moved on and soon found employment with a firm of 
English ship chandlers named John Bryce & Company. Grace had left 
Ireland earlier when thirteen, worked in New York for a short while, 
returned to his home country and then landed in Peru with the group of 
erstwhile colonizers. Why he stayed one can only surmise. Peru can be 
heady and exotic for many foreigners, and Grace was certainly enchanted, 

as would be other members of his family in succeeding years. One sus- 
pects a good job exerted equal attraction to this ambitious young man, 
and John Bryce & Co. was just then riding the crest of the mid-century 
guano boom in its business of provisioning and refitting ships engaged 
in the trade. 

Early in his career, Grace showed a critical sense of timing and 
opportunity that very seldom failed him for the next half century. Most 
of the guano ships had to proceed to Callao after loading at the Chincha 
Islands to revictual and refit for the voyage home. Grace proposed an 
innovation to his bosses at John Bryce: why not moor a supply ship 
permanently at the islands, pre-empting competitors and thus giving 
ships a much quicker and more profitable turnaround time. In 1855 
Grace set up the storeship with himself as storekeeper. Not only were 
standard ships' stores dispensed — canvas, tackles, tar, blocks, pitch, but 
Grace acted as middleman for the fresh fruits, meats, and vegetables 
that were imported from the port of Pisco for the fleet. When he 
departed the Chincha Islands in 1862, Grace had made a sizeable profit 
for himself and John Bryce, and had acquired a wife as well, the 
daughter of an American ship captain on the guano trade. 

During the decades of the sixties and seventies, Grace expanded his 
interest in John Bryce. The arrival in Peru of his younger brother 
Michael P. and a nephew James Eyre from Ireland, who were all em- 
ployed by John Bryce, helped to transform that old firm so that by 1867 
William and Michael had become partners with the two Bryce brothers. 
The Bryces were eventually bought out entirely by the Graces, and in 
1876 the firm, which originally had been taken over from Pablo Vivero 
by his son-in-law John Bryce, became Grace Brothers & Company. 

William had departed Peru in 1865 as a result if illness. He moved 
to New York where he was to live the rest of his life and established 
himself in 1866 in an office near Hanover Square next to his father-in- 
law's (Captain George Gilchrest of Maine) ship chandler's business. 
From here Grace began to trade with Peru. He chartered and acquired 
minority interests in downeasters and sent them to South America 
loaded with European and North American goods such as textiles, sew- 
ing machines, glassware, lamps, tools and medicines.- From Peru Grace 
imported guano and nitrates, a product for which Grace was the con- 
signee in New York. Meanwhile, a brother of William's, John W., estab- 
lished a branch office in 1873 in San Francisco to take advantage of the 
brisk trade in lumber from Oregon destined for the construction of rail- 
roads on the west coast of South America, and wheat which was shipped 
to New York and then to markets in Europe. W. R. Grace & Company 
had been formed in 1871 as a partnership with Michael and a young man 
called Charles Flint to help take care of the expanding business. Flint 
later split with the Graces and founded the United States Rubber 
Company, but in the early 1870s his business acumen and his shipbuild- 

ing father of Maine were both important attributes in the slowly expand- 
ing commercial network being created by William. Especially important 
was the Graces' role in the 1870s as the chief purveyors for Henry 
Meiggs, the amazing Yankee railroad building entrepreneur who visu- 
alized and commenced some truly bold projects before he died in 1877. 
The War of the Pacific (1879-1883) shattered this euphoric period for 
Peru, but it ushered in a new era for William Grace. 

In 1880 he was elected the first foreign-born mayor of New York 
in a turn from business to politics. He ran for mayor on the Democratic 
ticket as a reformer supported by Tammany Hall, which for many years 
had existed almost as a caricature of graft and corruption in city politics 
and was trying to change its image. Grace's gravitation to politics was 
naturally born of an instinct for power. In 1880 he had taken part in the 
national Democratic Convention in Cincinnati. Furthermore he had 
always cultivated friends among the Democrats of New York. Being 
Catholic and Irish (although by now naturalized) certainly made him 
sensitive to a growing percentage of New York's voters who themselves 
were foreign-born and Catholic. The mayoralty campaign of 1880 was, 
nonetheless, close, and an incident from his earlier presence in Peru 
helped to get him elected. Republicans were making much of Grace's 
origins (Irish), his long residence abroad (Peru), and drawing the con- 
clusion for campaign purposes that Grace was thus unfit to hold an 
American office. The first two claims were of course true. The conclu- 
sion, however, backfired. In 1862 two Union cruisers had put into Callao 
when news of the Union cause during the Civil War was particularly 
distressing. No Peruvian institution would honor the drafts which their 
paymaster, a Mr. Eldridge, offered in order to pay off the crews and buy 
much needed supplies. Someone sent Eldridge to Grace who "leaned 
back in his chair and said: 'I have faith in the Union and will give you all 
the money you need.'" h That story helped to swing sentiment and as- 
sisted Grace in winning the election, however apocryphal or true the 
tale may have been. 

Once in office he turned against Tammany Hall and instituted a 
series of reforms that included reorganizing the street department to 
clean up an unsanitary and filthy situation and reforming part of the tax 
structure. During this term Grover Cleveland, then a reforming mayor 
of Buffalo, was nominated for governor by the Democratic party. Grace 
helped him in this endeavor and secured a friendship that propelled him 
further into national circles as Cleveland moved closer to and finally 
into the White House in 1885. 

Grace ended his term in 1883 but was reelected again in 1885 when 
Cleveland dramatically moved into the presidency. The race for the 
chief executive had been particularly close in New York, and Grace's 
most successful campaign for mayor (winning by more than 10,000 
votes) was credited with aiding Cleveland in carrying the state in the 

national election. Grace continued his opposition to Tammany, and his 
reformist policies included balancing the budget and better organizing 
the Police Department, while Michael Grace, then also in New York, 
oversaw the business. By the mayor's second term it was clear that the 
disastrous War of the Pacific had created grave problems for Peru and 
Grace Brothers. Michael Grace returned to Peru in 1886 and William 
returned to business which, in truth, he had never left entirely during 
his public service. 

The War of the Pacific had stripped Peru of its rich nitrate fields in 
the south — claimed and occupied by the victorious Chileans — , had 
increased the tremendous debt that Peruvians had already incurred over 
the past decades to European creditors (debts secured by the rapidly 
depleting guano resources and the lost nitrate fields), and had humiliated 
the Peruvian nation. The most active financial crisis centered on about 
$260,000,000 in bonds held by European (largely English) investors 
which could not be serviced or redeemed. Until this debt was satisfactorily 
arranged, Peru possessed no credit and little chance of recovering from 
the war. The Grace family interests had been closely allied to the state 
of the Peruvian economy every since William had landed at Callao at 
mid-century, and thus it was not unnatural for Michael to take a deep 
interest in the post-war situation, especially with reference to the debt. 

Not only had the Graces lost substantial revenue from the eclipse of 
the Peruvian guano and nitrate trades — the former because of depletion 
and the latter because of the loss of nitrate-rich territories to Chile — 
but the acquisiton of interests in the still uncompleted Central Railroad 
of Peru to the potentially rich silver and copper mines of La Oroya and 
Cerro de Pasco made Michael Grace particularly sensitive to the Peru- 
vian plight. It was, after all, not only a Peruvian but also a Grace prob- 
lem. In this situation Michael Grace led the negotiations for five years, 
1885-1890, among the interested parties: the bondholders of London, 
the Peruvian government and on behalf of his own concessions in the 
uncompleted railroads and in the mining regions of central Peru. The 
settlement finally reached, called the Grace-Donoughmore Contract, 
forced both sides into some harsh compromises. The bondholders formed 
themselves into the Peruvian Corporation and agreed to liquidate the 
immense debt in favor of receiving the following main concessions: 
control of the railroads of Peru for a period of sixty-six years and a gov- 
ernment subvention of £80,000 a year based on customs revenue to 
finance further construction of the railroads. The Corporation also 
assumed the obligation of completing the Central Railroad to La Oroya. 
Michael Grace himself benefitted from the arrangements in two ways: 
through commissions; and by tying in his concessions on the Cerro de 
Pasco mining property and the proposed railroad to that area which he 
had acquired from Henry Meiggs' inheritors. While the complicated 
financial maneuvers have never been fully unraveled, the Grace Con- 

tract — a controversial political subject in Peru as one might suspect- 
removed a major obstacle in Peru's ability to generate foreign loans, 
subsidies and, ultimately, good credit at all levels. 7 

Michael Grace had arrived in Peru at the age of nine, had been 
educated in Peruvian schools, and had always been closer to the country 
than his older brother. Nonetheless, William had supported Michael 
fully during the negotiations that led to the settlement of the debt. Cer- 
tainly there is no specific period to which one can allude as the formative 
one in the association of Grace interests with Peruvian interests; how- 
ever, the difficult negotiations undertaken by Michael Grace between 
1885-1890 reinforced his personal and business commitments to that 
country, and probably did more to "peruvianize" the Grace enterprises 
than any other set of events in the nineteenth century. 

As the Grace business slowly recovered in concert with the crippled 
Peruvian economy, William Grace in New York expanded his activity 
in shipping, and at the end of the century incorporated the Grace part- 
nerships in Connecticut as W. R. Grace & Company. Trading had always 
been at the heart of the Grace enterprises, and it was natural to include 
shipping as a major interest. Grace had been chartering ships to haul 
goods between Peru and North America as early as the 1870s and by the 
1880s he had purchased some vessels and organized them into the 
Merchants' Line. In 1898 Grace, along with a New York banker Levi P. 
Morgan, bought the concession from the Nicaraguan government to 
build and operate a trans-isthmian canal. The object, of course, was to 
shorten the long voyage from North America's East Coast to South 
America's West Coast and acquire a distinct advantage over European 
competitors who still controlled the bulk of Peruvian trade at the turn 
of the century. The Grace/Morgan interests were ultimately out- 
maneuvered in Congress by the advocates of a canal across the isthmus 
at Panama. Nonetheless the benefits to be acquired from such a canal 
accrued to W. R. Grace & Co. and the United States as equally as if it 
had been built at any other point on the isthmus. When the canal 
opened for business in 1914, it was no meaningless coincidence that a 
Grace-owned ship was the first commercial vessel to steam north through 
this path of water. Grace Lines were organized in 1916, and the char- 
acteristic green, black and white striped funnels atop Grace Lines' ships 
became the most visible symbol of Grace in Peru and along the West 
Coast of South America generally for the next half century. 

The acquisition of a sugar estate near Trujillo in Northern Peru in 
1883 presaged a new direction for the Grace brothers in that country. 
The 5,800 acre Alzamora property named Cartavio became Grace 
property in the settlement of a debt, and in 1891 Grace organized the 
Cartavio Sugar Company to manage and operate this sizable sugar 
plantation in the Chicama Valley. During the course of the next two or 
three decades, most of the cane growing properties in the Valley were 

consolidated into three major estates, one each owned by the Gilde- 
meister family, the Larco family, and Grace. Production and efficiency 
increased with consolidation, and Grace's investment (by default initially) 
in this area furthered the company's identification with the Peruvian 
economy. 8 

Grace expansion into the productive and industrial sectors was 
hastened in 1904 through the acquisition of the Inca Cotton Mill and in 
1914 through a part ownership in the Vitarte Mill. In 1927 Grace fur- 
thered its presence in the textile industry by acquiring the La Victoria 
Mill and assumed a majority position among Peruvian textile manufacturers. 

At this point it might be of benefit to take stock briefly of Grace's 
activities from the 1850s to the First World War and see how they have 
been wedged into various theories social scientists invoke today to 
explain the past. Very simply, two divergent theories have evolved over 
the past several decades. 4 One is the diffusionist, and the other is the 
dependency explanation of modernization. The diffusionist views the 
gradual extension of the benefits of modernization (manifested by indi- 
cators ranging from complex formulae to determine the rise of real 
wages to the number of flush toilets per capita) as an evolutionary pro- 
cess radiating from the first areas to industrialize (Europe and North 
America) in ever-widening circles that eventually ripple through the 
farthest reaches of the developing world. The dependency theorist 
views the retention and reinforcement of a colonial relationship between 
the First and Third Worlds. This relationship inhibits the real spread of 
benefits by chaining the under-developed areas (the periphery) into a 
lockstep economy which only exists to serve the needs of the developed 
world (the metropolis). The complexities and nuances associated with 
each theory and its many branches can often leave the historian asking 
himself the simple question, "but what happened to' the facts?" 

Grace's activities from mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth 
century have been cast almost mechanically into the form preferred by 
the theory one advocates, or "ism" one subscribes to. The sinister school 
views Grace acts as representations of imperialism which sought markets 
and monies ruthlessly at the expense of everything native (native industry, 
native independence, native pride). The opposing school interprets the 
era no less myopically by rigidly excluding any truths and facts that 
weigh negatively on the scales. The role that Michael Grace played in 
settling the Peruvian debt after the War of the Pacific well demonstrates 
the problem. In one scenario, Grace is cast as the devil. He helps to 
alienate great portions of the Peruvian patrimony (such as the railroads 
and the mines) and collects handsome commissions and other compen- 
sations that callously ignore the damage to the Peruvian nation. His 
alter-ego, on the other hand, sacrifices his time and his energy in 
helping the Peruvian government come to an essential understanding 
with the bondholders, and in the process Grace demonstrates an undiluted 

love of the patria— Peru — which has become his adopted country. Analy- 
zing the influence of foreign investments abroad forms part of the larger 
theme of modernization. 10 In this respect, historical analysis— free of 
doctrinal restraints— can be the most valid way to study and properly 
interpret such incidents as the Grace contract. Michael Grace's behavior, 
in the context of his time, was neither reprehensible nor free of criticism. 
It represented an advance of capitalism with concurrent benefits to the 
individual and the country. Until more of the facts are revealed, other 
interpretations of the Grace contract appear distorted by prior concepts 
of capital's role in the development of Peru." 

W. R. Grace & Co. grew and prospered during the era of the First 
World War. That cataclysmic drama in Europe proved fruitful for 
United States enterprises abroad which prospered under the banner of 
neutrality until 1917 and then as victorious and healthy competitors- 
unencumbered by the effects of the war that ravaged the European con- 
tinent and its population — in the post-war era. Grace Lines grew rapidly 
from 1916 into the decade of the 1920s, especially spurred on by short- 
ages and high freight rates directly attributable to the war and its conse- 
quences. The company expanded its operations in Peru in the manu- 
facture and distribution of textiles and continued as the country's major 
importer and exporter. The establishment of the International Machinery 
Company (IMACO) in 1920 helped secure Grace's position in the impor- 
tation and service of much of the hard and software that flowed into 
Peru. IMACO was or became the sole distributor for such firms as 
General Electric, Socony- Vacuum, Royal Typewriter, B. F. Goodrich, 
and Bucyrus-Eire. 12 

Further expansion in the sugar business and an important new addi- 
tion in the novel and rapidly developing field of air transportation were 
made by the company during the Oncenio years (named after President 
Augusto Leguia's eleven year tenure from 1919-1930). In 1927 the 6,900 
acre Paramonga sugar plantation, located about 120 miles north of Lima 
in the Pativilca Valley, was purchased. Ten years later it became the site 
of one of the most original and ultimately successful industrial operations 
ever sponsored in Latin America by a major United States corporation. 

More romantic — and equally lucrative as well — was Grace's pioneer 
efforts done in tandem with Pan American Airways to bring interna- 
tional air service to Peru and other portions of the West Coast of South 
America. The Germans, through their Condor Line, and the French in 
Brazil had already begun operations in parts of Latin America when 
Grace and Pan Am formed Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra) in 
1928 as a joint effort with each subscribing $500,000 and receiving a fifty 
percent interest in the new company. By the middle 1930s Panagra was 
operating two flights a week north and two south on Douglas craft from 
South America to the United States (Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, 
Lima, Guayaquil, Cristobal, and Miami) and utilizing refinished Ford 

trimotors to haul cargoes within Peru to areas considered almost inac- 
cessible before the advent of the airplane. 13 

The decade of the 1930s, however, severely upset the world order, 
triggered momentous events in Peru and forced Grace to adjust to a 
depression economy. Diminished profits caused by a shrinkage in trade 
and severe drops in the prices of commodities world-wide — including 
sugar that Grace grew and exported from Peru — catalyzed chemical 
research within the company with the goal of upgrading some products 
and perhaps producing some new ones to help revitalize Grace interests 
and profits in Peru. 14 

Beginning in 1931 preliminary research in the small laboratory at 
Hacienda Cartavio was undertaken to explore the various alternatives 
for utilizing the by-products of the sugar making process. Rum under the 
label Ron Cartavio began to be produced, but rum in itself was a well 
known derivative from molasses. Several other possible avenues were 
explored before settling on the promise of employing bagasse (the fiber 
residue that remains after the juices have been ground out of the cane) 
to make a corrugating medium (the fluted material that goes between 
the liner board) for the manufacture of cardboard. Or, why not try to 
make paper products from bagasse commercially? It is important to 
emphasize that no new techniques as such were being invented. The 
uniqueness of research was inherent in the combination of various pro- 
cesses already known to the world of the sugar producer and the paper 

In 1935 a small board and paper mill in Whippany, New Jersey was 
leased by Grace to be used as a pilot plant. Bagasse was imported from 
Cartavio and the experiments commenced. A successful batch of cor- 
rugating medium was manufactured from the bagasse mixed with some 
wood pulp, the traditional source of paper. This corrugating medium 
was marketed in the New York area and the engineers and technicians 
pioneering the process then received the approval of the company's 
major officers to purchase a paper mill and install it at Paramonga. The 
machinery was made to order for Grace by the German firm of Voit and 
in 1937 and 1938 it was shipped from Bremen and Hamburg to Peru. 
In 1939 the paper mill went on line and within a year Paramonga was 
turning a profit based on this pioneering process. 15 During the war years 
another paper machine was purchased in the United States to expand 
Paramonga's line of products. Heavy sacks of concrete, boxes for con- 
sumer products, bags for groceries, and a host of other paper and card- 
board items filtered rapidly into the Peruvian commercial system and 
facilitated the modernization of the country. 

The Second World War forced improvisation on a world wide scale 
to make up for lost suppliers (witness the German manufacture of syn- 
thetic oil), and Grace engineers were forced to innovate as well. Caustic 
soda was necessary in the papermaking process, but it became quite 

scarce during the war. The knotty problem was solved by the electrolysis 
of salt, available in large quantities along the Peruvian coast, which pro- 
duced caustic soda. Chlorine and muriatic acid were derived from this 
process as well. By the 1960s these by-products were in turn being 
broken down by high technology operations that yielded polyvinyl chlo- 
ride, or PVC, a plastic basic to many diverse and modern industries. The 
growing internal Peruvian market always absorbed the majority of Para- 
monga's products, and these particular enterprises became bellweathers 
for industrialized Peru. 

A century after William Russell Grace had arrived in Peru, W. R. 
Grace & Co. was described in the following years: "There is hardly a 
Peruvian participating in the money economy of the country who does 
not eat, wear, or use something processed, manufactured or imported 
by Casa Grace." 16 In 1953, W. R. Grace & Co. was the second largest 
private employer in Peru with over 1 1,000 people working for the parent 
company and its subsidiaries. Biscuits, textiles, sugar, paper, Panagra, 
and myriads of other products and services were distributed by the old 
trading company that still retained some of the original commercial 
flavor imparted to it by its founder. Ninety-nine percent of its employees 
in Peru were Peruvian and less than twenty percent of its payroll left 
Peru, again perhaps in reflection of its long and intimate identification 
with that country. 

The purpose of this article was to present the barest overview of a 
most remarkable company's association with a most remarkable country 
during a dramatic century of rapid change and development — some of 
it exuberant and of tremendous benefit to the country, some of it tragic 
and the agent of significant social and political problems. The longer 
work slowly emerging from the research accomplished, as well as that 
still to be done, will be more particular and interrelated with Peruvian 
and United States history in general. 

One theme that appears consistently when studying the presence of 
Grace in the development of modern Peru is the lack of models— political, 
social, economic, abstract, or mechanistic — that can be readily invoked 
to explain the relationship. It is a complex country that has sought some 
unique answers in response to the challenges of the modern world. The 
almost symbiotic relationship that developed between Peru and Grace 
in this era seems to imply that the concept of interdependency is as valid 
as dependency in analyzing the modern history of Peru. 



1 Ernesto Yepes del Castillo, Peru, 1820-1920: un siglo de desarrollo capitalista 
(Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1971), p. 60; Jonathan V. Levin, The 
Export Economies: Their Pattern of Development in Historical Perspective 
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960), p. 116. 

2 Levin, Export Economies, p. 31. 

3 W. M. Mathew, "Peru and the British Gudno Market, 1840-1870," Economic 
History Review, 2nd ser., 23:1 (1970), 120 ff.; "Foreign Contractors and the 
Peruvian Government at the Outset of the Guano Trade," Hispanic American 
Historical Review, 52:4 (November, 1972fc 598-620, and; "A Primitive Export 
Sector: Guano Production in Mid-Nineteenth Century Peru," Journal of Latin 
American Studies, 9:1 (May, 1977), 35-57, has cornered the academic market on 
this commodity. In all seriousness, the three articles surely must be the precursors 
to the longer, coherent work on guano which students of nineteenth century 
Peru and her relations with Europe and North America can hopefully anticipate 
seeing in the future. 

4 Many disparate sources exist for the early history of William Russell Grace 
in Peru. See, for example, William S. Bollinger, "The Rise of United States In- 
fluence in the Peruvian Economy, 1869-1921," (unpublished Master's Thesis, 
UCLA, 1971), pp. 100 ff; J. Peter Grace, Jr., W. R. Grace (1832-1904) and the 
Enterprises He Created (New York: Newcomen Society, 1953), p. 9 ff.; "Casa 
Grace," Fortune 12:6 (December 1935), 158; and "Amazing Grace: The W. R. 
Grace Corporation," North American Congress on Latin American (NACLA), 
Latin America and Empire Report, 10:3, 2-3. 

5 J. P. Grace, Jr., W. R. Grace and the Enterprises, 14. 

6 "Casa Grace," Fortune, 12:6 (December, 1935), 158. 

7 Rory Miller, "The Making of the Grace Contract: British Bondholders and the 
Peruvian Government, 1885-1890," Journal of Latin American Studies, 8:1 
(May, 1976), 73-100, is the best unraveler to date. See also Bollinger, pp. 128-136. 

8 Peter F. Klaren, La formacion de las haciendas azucareras y los origenes del 
Apra (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1970), or the English version, 
Modernization, Dislocation, and Aprismo: Origins of the Pentvian Aprista 
Parly, 1870-1932 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973), describes the process 
of consolidation well, but views this development as disruptive and negative. 

9 C. Richard Bath and Dilmus D. James, "Dependency Analysis of Latin America: 
Some Criticisms, Some Suggestions," Latin American Research Review, 11:3 
(1976), 3-54, have written the sanest and most balanced review of dependency 
literature to date. They posit the problems well, are rigorous in their critiques, 
and even suggest some paths out of the labyrinth. See also Ronald H. Chilcote 
and Joel C. Edelstein, eds., Latin America: The Struggle with Dependency and 
Beyond (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1974) for a provocative, albeit 
slanted, interpretation of the dependency-diffusionist theories of modernization, 
and David Ray, "The Dependency Model of Latin American Underdevelop- 
ment," Journal of lnteramerican Studies, 15:1 (February, 1973), 4-20, for a well- 
argued critique of the stereotyped oversimplifications which view all foreign 
investments as "invariably exploitative and invariably detrimental to Latin Amer- 
ican development." 

10 Marvin D. Bernstein, ed., Foreign Investment in Latin America: Cases and 
Attitudes (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), brought together a well-selected 
group of essays that illustrate the problems of interpreting United States invest- 
ments abroad. 


11 My thanks to Barbara Tenebaum, Department of History, Vassar College, 
whose comments on the original version of this article delivered as a paper at 
the Southern Historical Association meeting, November 12, 1977, brought to my 
attention many questions related to economic development in the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries that have to be answered in future research on Grace 
and Peru. 

12 Eugene W. Burgess and Frederick H. Harbison, United States Business Per- 
formance Abroad: The Case Study of Casa Grace in Peru (National Planning 
Association, 1954), p. 37. 

11 "Casa Grace," Fortune, 12:6 (December, 1935), 164; Andrew B. Shea, Panagra: 
Linking the Americas During 25 Years (New York: Newcomen Society, 1954); 
"The Long Cold War of Panagra," Fortune, (June, 1952), 117 ff. 

14 Robert Sobel, The Age of Giant Corporations: A Microeconomic History of 
American Business, 1914-1970 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972), p. 
122, describes the retrenchment and technological advances that industries in 
general made in the 1930s. 

15 Burgess and Harbison, United States Business Performance, pp. 29-32. 

16 Ibid., pp. 3-4. 



By Kenneth V. Finney 

For the most part, Honduran history has been written around the 
careers of a group of larger-than-life individuals: such men as the Con- 
quistador Hernan Cortes, the Liberator Francisco Morazan, and the 
United Fruit Company Banana Baron Samuel Zemurray. Another name 
that needs to be included on this list of Honduran "giants" is Washington 
S. Valentine, whose active career in Honduras spanned the years 1880 
to 1910. 

Valentine was the son of a New York import-export merchant who 
went to Honduras in 1880 to help manage his family's newly-begun silver 
mine. Because Valentine knew next to nothing about mining, the Rosario 
Mining Company's board of directors gave him the title of Secretary; 
but he learned quickly and soon took charge of the company's works 
perched on the mountainside above the village of San Juancito, ninety 
miles north of Tegucigalpa, in the center of Honduras. Under Valentine's 
careful guidance, Rosario developed into a lucrative mining venture — 
the "commanding height" of the backwater Honduran economy. 1 

As local representative of what quickly became the largest enter- 
prise in the country, Valentine wielded considerable influence in Hon- 
duras. To further consolidate his position, he forged close personal 
relations with the small group of social elites in Tegucigalpa. He hosted 
a steady round of well-attended parties, staged elaborately choreographed 
excursions to the mines of San Juancito, and contributed generously to 
worthy public projects. 2 He clearly knew the value of goodwill gestures: 
in 1887, for example, Valentine, while in the United States on vacation, 
met sixteen young students, sons of the most prominent families in Hon- 
duras, at the wharf in New York. For the next two days he led them in a 
whirlwind tour of the city. Into those two days Valentine crowded a 
supper at Martinelli's on Fifth Avenue, a party at Tony Pastoris", a 
private champagne supper at the Hoffman House, a visit to the presses 
of the New York World, and a stop at the Eden Mussee. 1 "Si, Papa. Senor 
Valentine es muy simpatico." 

Valentine formed particularly close relations with Marcos Aurelio 
Soto and Luis Bogran, presidents of Honduras during the 1880s and 
1890s. The unequivocable success of Rosario, his mining company, pro- 
vided highly visible, irrefutable vindication of these presidents' aggres- 
sively developmentalist policies. Timely personal favors and a shower of 
gifts did the rest. 4 Valentine's "investments" in these two presidents paid 
off in such benefits as generous tax concessions and presidential support 
for the mining company whenever conflicts of interest broke out over 
such scarce natural resources as water and timber. 5 


A particularly hard-fought land battle which erupted in 1888 illus- 
trates the degree to which Valentine had insinuated himself into the 
fabric of Honduran politics. The Rosario Mining Company had received 
a land concession on which to build a new mill to process ore. Valentine 
attempted to evict three long-time residents from homes located within 
the boundaries of the concession. The threatened home owners took 
him to court and, surprisingly, the lower, appelate, and supreme courts 
all ruled against Valentine. Momentarily taken aback by this unusual 
display of judicial independence, Valentine appealed to President Bogran. 
Bogran obligingly over-turned the Supreme Court's decision by issuing 
an executive fiat giving Valentine what he wanted. An official editorial 
in the government newspaper noted that "The rights of mine owners 
cannot, and should not, be subordinate to the dilatory and excessively 
rigorous formalism of. . .court procedures." 6 So much for due process! 

Thus by using the personal touch to assure his mining enterprise a 
smooth path, Valentine wrought two long-term transformations of the 
Honduran political economy. In the first place, he accelerated and in- 
tensified the dominance of the executive over other branches of govern- 
ment. Secondly, he initiated a dependency-linked staple export economy 
in Honduras that came to real fruition later during the heyday of the 
Banana Republic! 7 

Valentine continued with Rosario until 1919, but as early as 1890, 
he began widening his horizons. s His most ambitious endevor was 
acquisition of the so-called Honduran Interoceanic Railroad as a base 
from which to monopolize banana production in the country. 9 Much 
more than his earlier mining activity, Valentine's railroading career 
thrust him into the forefront of Honduran-American relations. 

In 1893 Valentine used his influence to lease a short stretch of 
narrow gauge line already built from Puerto Cortes on the North Coast 
of Honduras inland some fifty miles by British engineers at enormous 
cost in the mid- 1800s. 10 For his rent he got a "poor old cripple toy loco- 
motive", minus smoke stack and cow catcher, that coughed, wheezed, 
and sputtered as it moved gingerly along rotten ties and rusty rails. 
Portions of the line often sank into the ooze. Behind the engine trailed 
a couple of miniature flat cars and a makeshift coach fashioned from an 
abandoned box car. 11 

Unfortunately, in 1894 a bloody coup by self-proclaimed Liberals 
wiped out Valentine's insider advantage. 12 Nonetheless, because of his 
prominent standing as manager of the country's foremost mining com- 
pany, the new regime allowed Valentine to continue operating the rail- 
road. But the Liberals insisted that he make come true the long-held 
dream of a railroad from coast to coast. However. British bondholders 
held a lien amounting to almost six million pounds sterling against the 
railroad, and before Valentine could extend the railroad to the Pacific 
Coast, he would have to settle with the bondholders. 13 


The bondholders bluntly rejected his first proposal to refund the 
debt on a basis that would have scaled it down by three fourths. 14 Smart- 
ing but undaunted from this rebuff, Valentine induced a number of 
American railroad magnates and financiers such as Cornelius Vander- 
bilt, J. P. Morgan, and John Jacob Astor to join him in founding The 
Honduras Syndicate. 1 ' Valentine clearly intended to use this enormously 
prestigious Honduras Syndicate to steamroll all opposition by sheer 
magnitude of enterprise. 

The cornerstone of the Syndicate venture was the Commercial 
Bank of Honduras which Valentine chartered in 1897. This bank — the 
country's first — not only proposed to handle Syndicate finances but was 
also designated by charter to serve as fiscal agent of Honduras. As fiscal 
agent, the bank received a special commission to settle the Honduran 
debt. In short, Valentine could now face the bondholders assured of 
official support: a very nice big "stick" to carry in the right hand. To 
reassure the bondholders that Honduras would not immediately lapse 
into default again, the Syndicate bank assumed joint management of the 
country's custom houses, took over the coast guard to reduce smuggling, 
and began operating the national mint. 16 

For several years, Valentine tried every trick in his bag to help the 
Syndicate become established and forge ahead. His best efforts came to 
naught. Exotic junkets aboard Astor's yacht to Honduras, media blitzs, 
and intensive bargaining with the bondholders all proved counter- 
productive. By the end of 1898, the Syndicate obviously had failed to 
unravel the railroad Gordian Knot of debt. Valentine's frustrated sug- 
gestion that Honduras cut the knot by repudiating the debt only 
"shocked" capitalists on both sides of the Atlantic. Thereafter things 
fell apart. 17 

By the turn of the century, Valentine realized the futility of attempt- 
ing to secure the railroad by negotiation and enterprise. He did not, 
however, relinquish his dreams for a railroad-banana monopoly; he 
merely changed tactics. Thereafter, Valentine resorted to diplomatic 
and legal threats. For instance, he once returned to Honduras aboard 
an American gunboat to appear that he spoke for the U.S. Department 
of State in Honduras. Taking advantage of this misrepresentation he 
tried to bully Honduras with threats of American intervention if they did 
not immediately award him clear title to the rail line. 1 * 

Valentine's threats— which undoubtedly appeared real enough to 
the Hondurans given the general temper of American policy in the 
Caribbean at the time — put the Hondurans in an awkward position. 
Events grew decidedly more precarious when the British bondholders 
decided to wrest control of the railroad for themselves by foreclosing 
on the mortgage. 14 The bondholders prevailed upon British officials in 
Central America to take up the cudgels for them.- 1 " Trapped between 


Valentine's Big Stick and bondholders' cudgels, the Honduras govern- 
ment stalled.- 1 

Postponement only multiplied difficulties. Yet a third party of 
British and American capitalists formed the Squier Syndicate in New 
York and mounted a real effort to gain control of the railroad. Fortu- 
nately for Valentine, who continued to lease and operate the line, the 
American minister in Guatemala blocked both the bondholders and 
Squier efforts by defending what he mistakenly perceived to be Valen- 
tine's "equity" in the line. 22 

Meanwhile, Honduras had undergone a hard-fought election, which 
was followed — as usual — by a short civil war. The intensely nationalistic 
Manuel Bonilla won both the election and the war. 21 He then allowed 
Valentine's lease to expire and for the next four years ran the railroad 
as a government enterprise. 2J Valentine protested what he called the 
"illegal" seizure of his railroad and filed a damage claim for more than 
a million dollars against Honduras with the American Department of 
State. 2 ' Officials in Washington, temporarily exercising uncharacteristic 
restraint, refused to become involved, and Valentine shortly withdrew 
his claim. 2h 

So might have ended Valentine's railroading career, except in 1907 
another bloody civil war brought down the Nationalist regime of Manuel 
Bonilla. President Taft and Secretary of State Knox felt moved to inter- 
vene and re-establish peace. The desperate political and economic 
straits of the lackluster American-imposed regime provided the ever- 
vigilant Valentine with an opportunity to secure a thirty-year lease of the 
railroad. 27 Needless to say, he took it. Immediately the bondholders 
trotted out the debt question again. This time the able and intelligent 
British Minister to Guatemala, Lionel Carden, hammered out a sensible 
and acceptable refunding scheme, acceptable, that is, to everyone 
except American Dollar Diplomats. Loath to tolerate any revitalization 
of British influence in Central America— especially Honduras — these 
officials cast about for an American alternative. Valentine again alertly 
grasping the situation, rejoined forces with J. P. Morgan and formulated 
a counterproposal. Although considerably more onerous for the Hon- 
durans than the British one, it did seem to have official American sup- 
port, which was an important consideration. 28 

By this time, circumstances had occurred which were destined to 
change the outcome of the rail question. Since Valentine had last tried 
to dispose of the Honduras debt, a new force had affected the state's 
political economics: the large-scale banana companies. The Valentine- 
Morgan scheme to saddle Honduras with a Santo-Domingo style customs 
receivership so preoccupied Samuel Zemurray, President of the Cuyamel 
Fruit Company, that he financed a filibuster expedition from New 
Orleans to thwart it. In the maelstrom that followed, the USS Tacoma 
chased Zemurray 's yacht, the Hornet, around the Caribbean; derelict 


Illinois Central railroad engineer Lee Christmas found his true vocation 
as a hired gun in Central America; progressive Democrats in the U.S. 
Senate led by Robert LaFollette derailed Knox's Grand Design for the 
Caribbean by refusing to ratify a treaty incorporating the Morgan- 
Valentine Plan; and worst of all the Honduran legislature also rejected 
the treaty. Through the dust raised by frenetically-paced events, one 
sees Valentine's star set and the rise of the Banana Barons. 24 

This brief survey of the highlights of Valentine's career underscores 
the centrality of certain individuals in Caribbean affairs during the late 
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; this despite the Marxist in- 
junction against bourgeois "dealling in personalities." At the same time, 
however, Valentine's career presents certain problems of interpretation. 
At least three distinct theses could be advanced. A Liberal explanation 
would emphasize the diffusion of development made possible by Valen- 
tine's entrepreneurial contribution to Honduran economic growth — 
especially his early mining activity. That more benefits did not trickle 
down to Honduras, Liberals would attribute to structural or monetary 
bottlenecks in the path of modernization. A second perspective, the 
Radical interpretation, would characterize Valentine as an early practi- 
tioner of American imperialism who laid the foundations of the estab- 
lishment of underdevelopment in Honduras through the creation of 
dependency linkages. Radicals would enthusiastically endorse the sobri- 
quet "The Sucking Vampire of Honduras" given Valentine by Honduran 
pundits. 30 Regretably, these two perspectives inadequately illuminate 
Valentine's career. Both reduce the human element to theoretically 
necessary, but basically uninteresting, statistical ciphers. This sort of 
reductionism is indefensible. What is required to capture the importance 
and interrelations of both the parts and the whole is a perspective based 
on an ecological model. 

A Technological perspective, appropriately framed along ecological 
lines, surpasses in explanatory power the overly materialist and reduc- 
tionist Liberal and Radical perspectives. For as Jacques Ellul puts it in 
his book. The Technological Society, "no social, human, or spiritual fact 
is so important as the fact of technique in the modern world." 31 Not only 
is modern and contemporary man's world increasingly dominated by 
mechanisms of all sorts, but one of the most basic values which shapes 
the goals and procedures of Technological Man, as Victor Ferkiss has 
labeled us, is a deep-seated faith in the efficacy of technology. Increas- 
ingly both the "goods" and "bads" of life derive from the manipulations 
wrought by our technological exurberance. 32 In contrast, what we hesi- 
tantly might call Traditional Man does not share this technological 
fetish. Traditional Man, as the definition suggests, rejects ratiocinated 
technology in favor of accustomed ways or acts spontaneously with 
little premeditation. 33 

Space prohibits depicting a fully elaborated Technological per- 


spective based on ecological principles. Suffice to say that far more than 
possible using Liberal or Radical perspectives, Valentine's influence on 
Honduras makes sense when studied from such a Technological per- 
spective. Within the conceptual framework afforded by the opposition 
of Technological to Traditional Man, Valentine emerges as an early 
carrier of the virus of North American technological civilization spread- 
ing contagion among the predominantly Traditional Hondurans. He 
introduced a great many specific technologies such as the air drills he 
installed in his mines and the telephones with which he linked San Juan- 
cito and Tegucigalpa. 34 This importation of hardware, while notable, is 
overshadowed by the more basic role he played as a model for a new set 
of values, attitudes, and behavior patterns — what one theoretician 
rather inelegantly described recently as "the transplantation of expecta- 
tions produced by incumbency in technocratic roles in modernizing 
societies." 35 Valentine inaugurated a fully modern industry at the mines 
above San Juancito. This endeavor helped forge strong legal and eco- 
nomic techniques later used to set up the North Coast banana enclave. 
He also did much to re-introduce Honduras into the mainstream of the 
techniques modern high finance. Moreover, he taught the Hondurans 
many a lesson on "socio-political" technology as he organized his miners 
like a veteran Chicago wardheeler or mobilized all the human and 
physical resources of Tegucigalpa to combat an epidemic of small pox. 36 
Most important of all, however, he inflected Hondurans with the spirit of 
laissez innover. 37 Not all Hondurans contracted "galloping technitis" 
immediately, and other carriers of this "disease" followed in his footsteps. 
But in the final analysis, it is better that Valentine be remembered as 
one who spread technology rather than reducing him to a mere Cartesian 
splinter in some Liberal or Radical theoretician's macro-model. 38 


1 Kenneth H. Matheson, "History of Rosario Mine, Honduras, Central America," 
The Mines Magazine (June, 1961; July. 1961) 33-38, and 22-28 respectively: and 
Kenneth V. Finney. "Precious Metal Mining and the Modernization of Honduras: 
In Quest of El Dorado." (Ph.D. Diss., Tulane University. 1973). passim. 

2 La Nacion (Tegucigalpa), December 16, 1887, p. 5; January 6, 1888, p. 2; Feb- 
ruary 8, 1888, p. 2; La Repiiblica (Tegucigalpa), September 17, 1887, p. 1; Novem- 
ber 5, 1887, p. 3; and Honduras Progress (Tegucigalpa), May 31, 1888, p. 3. 

3 Rafael Heliodoro Valle, "Cubanos Patriotas en Central-America," Revista del 
Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales. 20 (October, 1941). 221-223: Louis Valentine 
to Luis Bogran. Tegucigalpa, April 12, 1887. in Colleccion Luis Bogran (here- 
after cited as CLB), Correspondencia de Tegucigalpa ( 1887). This collection of 
papers is housed in the Archivo Nacional de Honduras. Tegucigalpa (hereafter 
cited as ANH). 

4 W. S. Valentine to Bogran, San Juancito, August 3, 1887, CLB, Corresponden- 
cia de Tegucigalpa (1887). 


s La Gaceta (Tegucigalpa), July 29, 1897, pp. 316-317. For tax concessions see 
Finney, "Precious Metal Mining," pp. 334-347, 351-353. For resource competi- 
tion see Kenneth V. Finney, "Rosario and the Election of 1887: The Political 
Economy of Mining in Honduras," (forthcoming 1978?). 

6 La Gaceta, September 26, 1888, p. 1. 

7 Finney, "Precious Metal Mining," 414-425. 

8 William A. Prendergast to Edna Valentine. December 7, 1944, New York and 
Honduras Rosario Mining Company, Company Archive, Historical File. 

9 Charles Abbey Brand, "The Background of Capitalistic Underdevelopment: 
Honduras to 1913," (Ph.D. Diss., University of Pittsburgh, 1972). p. 149; 
Kenneth V. Finney, "Washington S. Valentine: The Yankee Who 'Bought' 
Honduras," (Un pub. Ms. 1975). 

10 Charles L. Stansifer, "E. George Squier and the Honduras Interoceanic Rail- 
road Project," Hispanic American Historical Review, 46 (February 1966), 1-27; 
Gene S. Yeager, "The Honduran Foreign Debt, 1825-1953," (Ph.D. Diss.. 
Tulane University, 1975), p. 148; La Gaceta. October 24, 1893, p. 304. 

" Albert E. Morlan, A Hoosier in Honduras (Indianapolis, 1897), pp. 64-65; 

12 Aro Sanso [ Ismael Mejia Deras], Policarpo Bonilla (Mexico, 1936); pp. 81- 
267; Gustavo A. Castaneda S., El General Dominguez Vdsquez y su tiempo 
(Tegucigalpa, 1934). 

13 La Gaceta. October 27, 1894, p. 686; December 25, 1895, p. 661; | El Obser- 
vador], El negocio Valentine (Tegucigalpa, 1911), 11-12. 

14 Corporation of the Foreign Bondholders Protection Association, 23rd Annual 
Report (1895), 180-186; Yeager, "Honduran Foreign Debt," 241. 

15 El 5 de Julio (Tegucigalpa), February 1, 1896, p. 3; La Gaceta, April 28, 1897, 
pp. 205-211; W. S. Valentine to Manuel Ugarte, June 28, 1897; Jacob R. 
Shipherd to Policarpo Bonilla, January 11, 1897; copy of James Cooper to 
Chauncey Depew, July 26, 1897; and W. S. Valentine to Policarpo Bonilla, July 
9, 1897 all in Coleccion Policarpo Bonilla (hereafter cited as CPB) in ANH. 

16 La Gaceta. April 28, 1897, pp. 205-211. 

17 Finney, "The Yankee," passim; Pedro J. Bustillo, El gobierno y el sindicato 
(n.p., 1898), p. 4. 

18 | Leslie Coombs?], "Morgan-Honduras Loan. . .1898/1909," Tulane University, 
Rare Book Cover, p. 6; W. E. Alger to Francis B. Loomis, Despatch 88, Novem- 
ber 3, 1903, U.S. National Archives, Records of Department of State, Consular 
Despatches, Puerto Cortes; Bondholder Report No. 26 (1898). p. 223. 

" Diario de Honduras (Tegucigalpa), January 8, 1903, p. 1; Bondholder Report 

No. 29 (1901-1902). pp. 208-210. 

■ Bondholder Report No. 30(1902-1903), p. 201. 

21 Bondholder Report No. 29 (1901-1902). pp. 208-210; United States Department 
of Commerce, Bureau of Commerce, Railways of Central America and the 
West Indies, by Rodney Long, Trade Promotion Series No. 5 (Washington. D.C., 
1925), p. 57. For a general assessment of these maneuvers see Yeager, "Hon- 
duran Foreign Debt," 255-262, and Kenneth V. Finney, "Washington S. Valen- 
tine and the Honduras Interoceanic Railroad," (forthcoming. 1978?). 

22 Alfred W. Moe to Loomis, Desp. 84, February 24, 1904. U.S. National 
Archives. Consular Despatches, Tegucigalpa; Bondholder Report No. 30 (1902- 
1903). pp. 189, 198, 230; Yeager, "Honduran Foreign Debt," 258-259. 

23 Lucas Paredes, Drama politica de Honduras (Mexico, 1958). 155-165; Finney, 


"Honduras Interoceanic Railroad," 14; Alger to Loomis, Desp. 58. March 28, 
1903, U.S. National Archives, Consular Despatches, Puerto Cortes. 
M Bondholder Report No. 30 (1902-1903), 200. 

25 John Hay to Leslie Coombs, Desp. 49, June 19, 1903, U.S. National Archives, 
Diplomatic Instructions to Central America, XX; Coombs to Hay, Desp. 80, 
July 10, 1903, ibid, Despatches from Ministers, Central America, XLIX; Finney, 
"Honduras Interoceanic Railroad," pp. 15-16. 

26 Angel Ugarte, Memorandum sobre los emprestitos de Honduras (Tegucigalpa. 
1904); Yeager, "Honduran Foreign Debt," 256-263; Finney, "Honduras Inter- 
oceanic Railroad," 15-16. 

27 Jose Maria Moncada, Cosas de Centro America (Madrid, 1908), Hermann B. 
Deutsche, The Incredible Yanqui; The Career of Lee Christmas (London, 1931). 

28 Partial accounts— often written by parties with vested interests— can be 
found in such sources as Juan E. Paredes, La contrata Morgan, sus antecedentes 
(New Orleans, 1911) and Nestor Colindrez Zuhiga, Voto razonado sobre el em- 
prestito Paredes-Knox (Tegucigalpa, 1911), but the clearest account is to be 
found in Yeager, "Honduran Foreign Debt," 263-280. 

29 Brand, "Honduras to 1913," 177-185; Yeager, "Honduran Foreign Debt," 281- 
291; Deutsche, Lee Christmas. 

30 Abraham F. Lowenthal, "United States Policy Toward Latin America: 'Liberal,' 
'Radical,' and 'Bureaucratic' Perspectives," Latin American Research Review 
8 (Fall, 1973), 3-26; Samuel Baily, The United States and the Development of 
South America (New York, 1976), pp. 9-12. 

31 Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York, 1964), p. 3. 

32 Victor Ferkiss, Technological Man (New York, 1969); A.J. Mishan, Tech- 
nology and Growth. The Price We Pay (London, 1970). 

33 Lewis Mumford makes the best case for this contrast in "Authorization and 
Democratic Technics," Technology and Culture (New York, 1962), 50-59. For 
his definitive treatment see his two volume The Myth of the Machine (New 
York, 1967). 

34 La Nacion, March 7, 1888, p. 3; Honduras Progress, May 10, 1888, p. 1; June 
7, 1888, pp. 1-2. 

35 Guillermo A. O'Donnell, Modernization and Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism 
(Berkeley: University of California Press), 1975; p. 81. 

36 Sanso, Policarpo Bonilla. 53; La Republica. July 4, 1891, pp. 1-3. 

37 John McDermott, "Technology: The Opiate of the Intellectuals," New York 
Review of Books (July 31, 1969), 25-37, develops this concept. The idea needs 
much further dissemination than it has so far received. 

38 The conceptual significance of Descartes' vortex theory (Cartesian splinter) 
is discussed in Piero V. Mini, Philosophy and Economics (Gainesville, 1974), 
pp. 18-19. 








By Phil Brian Johnson 

"Mr. Madison has spoiled a. . .cotton planter and only made a 
clumsy courtier of me." — Thomas Sumter, Jr. 

On the morning of November 29, 1807, an exhausted French army 
commanded by Marshal Andoche Junot marched into Lisbon and 
secured Portugal for Bonaparte's Continental System. Only hours pre- 
vious a reluctant Dom Joao de Braganza, the Prince Regent of Portugal, 
had boarded the Principe Real and set sail for Brazil which, finding itself 
at the center of the Portuguese Empire, was to play temporary host to its 
dispossessed sovereign for the next fourteen years. The United States 
welcomed the fugitive Court to "our Western Hemisphere" and immedi- 
ately appointed a Minister Plenipotentiary to the Portuguese Court in 
Brazil. The new envoy was instructed to negotiate a commercial treaty 
and collect all information pertinent to the commerce between the two 
countries, submit any intelligence relative to the growing revolutionary 
movements throughout Latin America, explain the position of the 
United States on neutral rights, and finally, to promote an amicable rela- 
tionship between the Braganza government and the United States. 1 

Thomas Sumter, Jr. was the man selected by the Department of 
State for its first major diplomatic appointment to Latin America. He 
was a dismal choice, inept, contentious, boorish, barely literate, and 
only mildly interested in the post. The Minister's shortcomings were not 
unknown to his superiors. He had served briefly, in 1802, as secretary of 
legation in Paris. But after only a few weeks in this position he began 
showering Minister Robert Livingston with a variety of complaints: he 
was required to work too hard, his office was "scarcely habitable", 
Livingston's personal servants neglected to tend his fire and sweep his 
room, and he couldn't be bothered with keeping the Legation office 
open regularly to the public. In a snit, he quit. 2 With his French bride 
in tow, Sumter left for London where he was employed for a few months 
as private secretary to Minister James Monroe. Then, in the fall of 1803, 
the couple returned to South Carolina and Sumter resumed the occupa- 


tion of gentleman planter, with disastrous results. During a five year 
stewardship he very nearly drove his father's cotton plantation into the 
ground. In order to get Sumter off the land before the family was ruined, 
his revolutionary war hero father, General Thomas Sumter, used his 
influence within the Jeffersonian Republican party to secure a diplo- 
matic post for his son. Brazil was it. 

Minister Sumter's mission to Brazil was not particularly successful. 
This was due to a number of factors which will be examined in this 
paper, not the least of which was Sumter's bumptious and quarrelsome 
nature. He argued with everybody — other members of the diplomatic 
community, his American subordinates, and on one occasion even with 
members of the Braganza family with whom he engaged in a public feud 
over a matter of court etiquette. When the Braganzas appeared on the 
streets it was customary for people to remove their headgear and for 
those on horseback, to dismount. On several occasions when the less 
than toothsome Princess Carlota was being driven through the city in 
her carriage the American minister refused to get down from his horse. 
Considering Sumter's behavior to be belligerent and disrespectful, the 
Princess ordered her guards to forcibly detach Sumter from his perch. 
Sumter responded by drawing his pistols and threatening to fire if 
touched. Shortly thereafter Prince Joao tactfully issued a decree allowing 
foreign diplomats to remain on their horses in the royal presence. 3 

One cannot help but wonder why Washington would appoint — and 
retain for ten years — such an incompetent individual. It would certainly 
belie the importance that was officially attached to the mission, and it 
could even be interpreted as a reflection of the United States' real dis- 
regard and lack of economic interest in the soon to become Kingdom 
of Brazil. 

Minister Sumter spent a great deal of time during the first two years 
of his residence in Rio de Janeiro following Secretary of State Robert 
Smith's instruction to secure a commercial agreement with the Portu- 
guese Court in Brazil. On several occasions when he approached Minis- 
ter of Foreign Affairs Rodrigo de Souza e Coutinho, the Conde de 
Linhares, on the subject of a trade treaty Sumter strongly emphasized 
the benefits that would accrue to Brazil if the United States were to 
provide an increased market for Brazilian sugar and coffee. But the 
Portuguese ignored Sumter's blandishments and continued to refuse to 
negotiate a treaty or even to grant to the United States the status of most 
favored nation — the latter having been promised verbally to Consul 
Henry Hill in 1808. Sumter blamed his lack of success in acquiring com- 
mercial concessions from the Portuguese on a lingering suspicion that 
he and the country which he represented favored French projects for 
promoting rebellion throughout Latin America, and also on the fact that 
he had been unable to give the negotiations with the Court his full 


attention due to the time and energy expended on quarrels with his 
subordinates. 4 

During the War of 1812, commercial negotiations between the two 
countries were more or less suspended as a result of the controversies 
which arose over Luso-Brazilian violations of neutrality (although it is 
interesting to note that United States' trade with Portugal itself increased 
markedly throughout the war years). Following the war it was decided to 
conduct any future negotiations in Washington. The Department of 
State was cognizant of the Court's obvious reluctance to grant any 
commercial privileges to the United States and realized that Sumter— 
after eight years— was incapable of reaching an agreement with the 
Portuguese. 5 

Sumter had further been instructed to furnish the Department of 
State with information on Brazil's commercial resources and potential- 
ities, which was perceived as a necessary prerequisite to the negotiation 
of a treaty between the two powers. This he also failed to do. In 1819, 
Secretary of State John Quincy Adams informed Sumter's successor to 
Brazil, John Graham, that the 

information possessed at this Department is so slight and im- 
perfect, that it is not possible to found upon it any precise 
instructions other than that of requesting your vigilant and un- 
remitting attention to the object of collecting, digesting, and 
reporting, such facts as may prove useful to the public service 
and tend to facilitate the removal of inequalities injurious to 
the Commerce of the United States. . . . h 
This negligence is certainly an adverse reflection on Sumter's ability and 
interest. It is also indicative of his disinclination to cooperate with and 
utilize the capabilities of consular officials. But another impression 
becomes equally clear: perhaps the United States was not overly anxious 
to conclude a treaty with Brazil, as is evidenced by the Department of 
State's haphazard correspondence with Sumter in which commercial 
matters were only infrequently mentioned. Moreover, at this time the 
understaffed and overworked Department of State was burdened with 
European concerns far more pressing than the possibility of commercial 
relations with an as yet unproven market, and with a country that had 
proven to be less a friend than initially had been supposed. Furthermore, 
any satisfactory commercial arrangement between the United States 
and the Portuguese Court was rendered virtually impossible by the 
diplomatic and commercial ascendancy of the English in Brazil. 

Minister Sumter was also directed to furnish the Department of 
State with intelligence relative to the growing revolutionary movements 
throughout South America. This he did do. Sumter included in his dis- 
patches lengthy statements detailing the activities of revolutionaries in 
Buenos Aires, Chile, and Peru. He gathered most of his information 
from United States' special agents who visited the troubled regions, 


ship's officers, merchants, and from newspaper accounts and broad- 
sides. In general, Sumter's dispatches were poorly written, confusing, 
and with regard to his information on South America, contained few 
evaluative judgments. Beyond a curt acknowledgement of their receipt, 
the Department of State took little notice of Sumter's news gathering; 
in the instructions issued to special agents and other United States 
officials bound for South America, Sumter's reportage was virtually 

Neutral rights was the single most controversial issue which occupied 
most of Sumter's efforts and which strained relations between the 
United States and the Portuguese Court almost to the breaking point. 
Throughout the War of 1812, the United States criticized the Braganza 
government for its failure to maintain neutrality and the aid which the 
Court extended to Great Britain. In the years immediately following the 
war, however, Portugal rightly charged the United States with ignoring 
its responsibilities as a neutral by not curbing the privateers which were 
outfitted in American ports, and which, under the colors of the Uruguayan 
rebel. General Jose Artigas, attacked the shipping of Portugal. 

The War of 1812 was a minor battleground in the larger contest of 
the Napoleonic Wars in which the interests of Portugal and the Brazilian 
colony were tightly joined with those of England. The Peninsular phase 
of the European war was being fought largely by the armies and navy of 
England; if Prince Joao and his homesick consort, Carlota, ever hoped 
to reoccupy their royal residence in Lisbon, it would be thanks to the 
British force of arms which brought about the fall of France. By declar- 
ing war on Great Britain the United States had, for all intents, allied 
itself with France and, in the opinion of the Court, become nothing 
more than an "instrument of France engaged by fear of her in a war 
which would soon be abandoned from weakness and disunion." 7 

Quite naturally, then, Prince Joao and the majority of his ministers 
actively favored the cause of Great Britain in the War of 1812, in sharp 
contrast to their hostility towards the United States. Nor had Sumter 
done anything to counteract this sentiment. Instead of pursuing amicable 
relations between the two countries, he had, in fact, promoted the oppo- 
site effect. Portugal's favorable attitude towards Great Britain was all 
but guaranteed by the Strangford Treaty, the second of three treaties 
signed in 1810. By the terms of this treaty, the two powers agreed to 
defend each other in the event of hostile attack and to provide for 
mutual defense. Moreover, it was stipulated that an unlimited number of 
British warships might avail themselves of Brazil's ports, and that when 
these vessels were employed for the "benefit and protection" of either 
party, provisions would be provided at no charge." 

In view of these considerations the only alternatives available to the 
Rio government were belligerency or a policy of quasi-neutrality, either 
of which would be advantageous to the Portuguese Empire and its 


British ally, and offensive only to the poorly represented and commer- 
cially insignificant republic of the north. 

The Braganza government briefly considered declaring war on the 
United States and entering the conflict on the side of its ally, England. 
This possibility was demonstrated several days after news of the war 
reached Rio, when Joao presented the British with a corvette, the Ben- 
jamin, which was briefly employed as an armed cruiser in Brazilian 
waters. Prince Joao decided against belligerency.however, due not to 
the efforts of Sumter, but to the pressure exerted by Lord Strangford, 
who "in a most decided manner" urged the Portuguese to declare their 
neutrality, which the Court did on September 29, 1812. g 

Before examining specific instances whereby Portugal violated her 
neutrality, it is necessary to understand that, although at this time there 
was no universally recognized international agreement regarding the 
rights and obligations of neutrals, there were certain elemental standards 
of conduct which a neutral nation was expected to observe. Presumably, 
a neutral would abstain from supplying belligerents with the tools of war 
in the form of ships, naval stores, munitions, and armed forces. Neutrals 
were bound to prevent hostilities in their ports and territorial waters, 
and to insure that their territory was not used as a base for belligerent 
expeditions for for the recruiting of soldiers and sailors. Although a 
neutral nation could grant asylum or temporary refuge to a belligerent 
warship, prizes could not be disposed of in neutral ports nor could an 
armed belligerent vessel be allowed to remain in a neutral harbor in- 
definitely. Generally, a three-day maximum was considered acceptable 
to most nations. If certain provisions of the Strangford Treaty had been 
enforced, these rules would have been nullified. Moreover, for several 
years previous to the treaty and the outbreak of the War of 1812, Portu- 
gal's navy and troops had been fighting beside the English in Europe. 
Therefore, the Portuguese declaration of neutrality, limited almost 
exclusively to prohibitions forbidding the disposition of prizes in her 
ports, becomes understandable and even sensible. 

It is not surprising, then, that Portugal violated the rules of neutral 
conduct, thereby assuring a deterioration in relations with the United 
States. In order to arrive at some conclusions regarding the nature and 
effect of Portugal's un-neutral conduct, it is necessary to examine a few 
of the incidents which so agitated Sumter and the United States. 

Portugal blatantly disregarded its neutral status and favored the 
British cause in the matter of the impressment of American citizens, for 
decades a preeminent issue in American foreign affairs. Throughout the 
war it became the practice of shorthanded British warships operating in 
Brazilian waters to dispatch press gangs into the cities to gather up 
needed crew members. On one occasion a British admiral, with the full 
cooperation of friendly Portuguese officials, seized four American citi- 
zens being detained in a Brazilian prison and impressed them into the 


service of England. The Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined 
to press any complaints on behalf of the American prisoners. Nor did 
the Ministry make any attempt to seek redress from the British at any 
time during the spring of 1813 when a total of fourteen United States 
nationals were taken forcibly on board British men of war."' Despite his 
frequent and oftimes bitter complaints, Sumter was unable to force the 
Portuguese to curb the British practice of impressment, which he re- 
garded as indefensible: "It is carrying the war against the United States 
into the Capitol of a neutral Country, for the purpose of seizing Ameri- 
cans to make them fight against their government — What an example 
to set before the world. . . ?"" 

Added to these outright violations of naval neutrality was the overt 
aid granted England in the form of armed Portuguese convoys for 
British merchantmen. Barely six months after the commencement of the 
war, Captain Thomas Boyle of the Comet, an American privateer cruis- 
ing off the Brazilian coast, reported an encounter with three heavily 
laden British merchant vessels which were being convoyed by a Portuguese 
man-of-war of thirty-two guns. The Comet gave chase to the four ships, 
and upon overtaking the Portuguese warship, the latter requested a con- 
ference with the American commander. Captain Boyle was informed 
that the English merchantmen were under the protection of the Portu- 
guese brig. Boyle ignored the threat and the two ships engaged in battle. 
The faster, more maneuverable Comet succeeded in damaging and 
driving off the Portuguese brig, but could not prevent it from herding 
two of the damaged Britishers into safe "neutral" waters. 12 

In a variety of other ways Portugal violated the spirit of neutrality 
and displayed official favoritism toward Great Britain and antipathy for 
the United States. For example, officials of the province of Bahia com- 
promised Portugal's neutrality by extending excessive protection to the 
specie-carrying Bonne Cityonne, a British brig of twenty-eight guns. The 
Bonne Cityonne was given permission to remain in the harbor of Bahia 
for as long as the Hornet, under Captain Lawrence, cruised outside 
territorial waters in wait for its prey. Despite protests by Consul Hill and 
several defiant challenges delivered to the British commander by Law- 
rence, the Bonne Cityonne refused to meet the Hornet "beyond the 
neutral limits and the protection of Brazilian guns." The commander of 
the small American force, William Bainbridge, advised Lawrence not to 
rely upon the neutral protection of the port of Bahia in the event of the 
arrival of a superior British force, which would likely "possess sufficient 
influence to capture you even in port." 11 

It must be concluded that Portugal, for understandable reasons of 
national interest, failed to uphold its neutrality in the face of British 
aggression. However, neutrality is a two-way street: not only must it be 
enforced by the neutral nation, it must be respected by the belligerent 
powers. Great Britain was notoriously lax in this respect. But, in truth, 


during the War of 1812 the United States was not altogether blameless. 
Although the United States generally respected the neutrality of all 
nations, there were instances during the War of 1812 when the champion 
of neutral rights blatantly disregarded Portugal's neutrality. On several 
occasions American privateers attacked and looted unarmed Portuguese 
merchant vessels. In November 1812, the Revenge detained the Triumpho 
do Mar, bound from Lisbon to New York, and removed the cargo. In the 
same year a Brazilian schooner out of Para was similarly treated. In 
these and other cases Washington disclaimed any responsibility and 
advised Joseph Rademaker, the Portuguese charge in the United States, 
to seek redress through due process in the courts of the land. 14 

More serious than the isolated attacks by privateers, was the rumor 
that American ships had attacked Sierra Leone and inflicted heavy 
damage. No evidence was presented which proved or disproved the 
accusation. However, the charge circulated among the inhabitants and 
officials of Rio, and was trumpeted about by those individuals who 
wanted to believe it by virtue of their dislike of Sumter, antipathy 
towards the United States, and sympathy for Great Britain. 1 ' 

Illegal recruiting procedures practiced by officials of the United 
States was another source of irritation between the two countries. In 
February, 1813, Jose Bernardes, a Portuguese sailor, was enticed into 
enlisting in a certain Colonel Winder's infantry regiment by "the glitter- 
ing show of money" and a prodigious quantity of rum. Despite Portu- 
guese protestations, the sailor was kept closely confined in a Rendezvous 
House in Philadelphia, and then, with "woeful lamentation," marched off 
to Baltimore. Antonio Joao de Feitas was also cajoled or forced into the 
American service, even though the recruiting party was knowledgeable 
of his nationality and the contract which bound him to the Portuguese 
merchant marine." 1 

The Portuguese Court was considerably less disturbed over the 
violations of neutrality by the United States throughout the War of 1812 
than it was over the disinclination of the American government during 
the Rio de la Plata conflict to prevent American privateers from cruising 
against the commerce of Portugal and the subsequent refusal to make 
reparations. This reluctance on the part of the Madison administration 
contributed greatly to a feeling of ill-will between the two countries 
which persisted from some years after the end of Sumter's mission. 
In 1816 hostilities erupted anew in the Rio de la Plata basin. The 
present conflict, which eventually resulted in the establishment of the 
independent state of Uruguay in 1828, was but a continuation of the 
centuries old rivalry between Spain and Portugal for possession of the 
strategic Banda Oriental. This rivalry was intensified with the transfer 
of the Portuguese Court to Brazil. Until 1815, however, English inter- 
vention had prevented Prince Joao from securing control over the 
Banda Oriental. But in that year Lord Stangford was withdrawn from 


Rio, which left the Braganza government momentarily free from English 
domination to pursue its expansionist goals. However, by 1815 there 
were two new claimants to the region: the revolutionary government of 
Buenos Aires and the party of Jose Artigas, a native of the Banda 
Oriental who was determined to make the province independent. In 
1816 Brazil confronted Artigas with a land and water siege. Having no 
naval force at his disposal (and no port for that matter). Artigas reacted 
by commissioning privateers to prey on Portuguese commerce. The 
majority of these commissions were granted to Americans, notably resi- 
dents of Baltimore. 17 

When the Portuguese minister to Washington, Jose Correa da 
Serra, learned that citizens of Baltimore were outfitting privateers, he 
pleaded with the government of the United States to remain neutral and 
to prevent the Baltimorean privateers from committing armed outrages 
against the shipping of Portugal. It was to no avail, for as early as 
December, 1816, an American privateer flying the colors of Artigas cap- 
tured a Portuguese vessel off the coast of Madeira. Several months later 
the Buenos Ayres Patriot, a Baltimore privateer commanded by one 
J. W. Stephens, captured and ransacked the Marques of Pombal and the 
St. John Protector. On October 18, 1818, Correa da Serra complained 
that another Portuguese ship, the brig Joao Sexto, had been captured 
by the American privateer Fortuna and was presently being fitted out 
in Baltimore to attack Portuguese commerce. In December of the same 
year the Portuguese minister informed Washington of "depradations 
and unwarrantable outrages" which had been committed off the Brazilian 
coast by another Baltimore privateer, the Vicuna (alias the General 

In 1820 Minister Correa da Serra estimated that the activities of 
American privateers had cost his country approximately sixty-five ves- 
sels and eighty-one million dollars. In addition to the plundering of ships 
in a time of peace between the two countries, there were, besides, "vio- 
lations of territory by landing and plundering ashore, with shocking 
circumstances." Correa da Serra admitted that the American govern- 
ment did not officially countenance what amounted to piracy; never- 
theless, these piratical acts were being committed by citizens of the 
United States who had open recourse to the port of Baltimore where the 
populace openly flaunted their support of Artigas by displaying "badges" 
in their hats. Correa da Serra compared the privateers and their sup- 
porters in Baltimore to a "wide extended and powerful tribe of Infidels 
worse still than those of North Africa," for at least the North African 
Infidels made prizes under the laws of their countries and only after a 
declaration of war had been issued. But the American "Infidels" attacked 
the commerce of a nation "friendly to the United States, against the will 
of the government of the United States, and in spite of the laws of the 
United States." 18 


Washington was not entirely heedless of Portugal's plight. On 
March 3, 1817, Congress passed an act which clarified and strengthened 
United States' neutrality laws. This act prohibited privateers from cruis- 
ing under a commission granted by "any colony, district, or people," 
which was an obvious reference to the insurgent governments of Latin 
America. The neutrality laws of the United States were further rein- 
forced by legislation in 1819 and 1820. But the mere passage of laws was 
not sufficient to impose neutrality on the citizens of the country. This 
was due to a number of factors, "chief of which was the connivance at 
violations on the part of the public officials of Baltimore, the privateers' 
haven, where the federal judges, the collector of customs, the post- 
master, the private attorneys, and the populace were culpable either 
because of selfish reasons or incompetence." 19 Once neutrality legis- 
lation had been passed. President Madison professed to have done 
everything he could to protect Portugal from the Baltimore privateers. 
However, the disinclination of the United States to forcibly curb the 
privateers caused the Portuguese Court to disregard many American 
claims resulting from the War of 1812. Thus, in the opinion of Lawrence 
Hill, a noted historian of United States-Brazilian diplomatic relations, 
the neutrality question served in part to bring the two countries "almost 
to the verge of actual hostility." 20 

Relations between the United States and the Kingdom of Brazil 
were most seriously impaired and Minister Sumter, Jr.'s usefulness all 
but ended by Washington's favorable attitude towards the rebellion 
which broke out in 1817 in the northern province of Pernambuco, long a 
center of republican-separatist intrigue. The Pernambucan rebels hoped 
to establish a republic independent of the Brazilian monarchy. Their 
plans were dependent upon the Court being too mired in the Rio de la 
Plata adventure to do more than protest, and especially upon assistance 
and perhaps even recognition from the United States. To secure the 
latter the Provisional Government of Pernambuco dispatched to Wash- 
ington one Antonio Goncalves da Cruz, who was instructed to present 
the Pernambucan cause, obtain diplomatic recognition of the new 
Republic, and secure credit for the purchase of war materiel. In return 
for these favors Goncalves da Cruz was authorized to offer a generous 
commercial agreement which was thought would appeal to the spirit of 
the American people, all of whom, he believed, were ruled by senti- 
ments of "republicanism and commercialism." 

In Philadelphia Goncalves da Cruz met with Caesar Rodney, the 
Department of State's unofficial representative, and the President of the 
Bank of the United States, William Jones. In the name of Secretary of 
State Richard Rush, Rodney agreed to the following concessions: 
although the United States would not recognize the Republic of Pernam- 
buco at that time, Pernambucan merchant ships and privateers (but not 
prizes) could enter American ports; the United States would not respect 


the Portuguese Court's "nominal blockage" of the Pernambucan coast; 
and finally, the United States would recognize the belligerent status of 
the Republic of Pernambuco and would therefore not impede the pur- 
chase and shipment of war materiel. 

Secretary of State Rush conferred personally with Goncalves da 
Cruz in Washington on June 16, 1817. The Pernambucan representative 
was told that "precise" recognition of his government was still not pos- 
sible, but that the United States would do what it could to assist his 
cause. Rush then asked Goncalves da Cruz to establish his formal resi- 
dence in any other city but Washington, presumably to prevent further 
deterioration in relations with King Joao's government. In response to 
Goncalves da Cruz' suggestion that the United States maintain a naval 
force off the Pernambucan coast in order to protect American com- 
merce, the Secretary gave the Pernambucan the impression that the 
United States would act forcibly if circumstances required it; and im- 
pression that led Goncalves da Cruz to report to his superiors that there 
was a real possibility of a confrontation between the United States and 
the Portuguese Court which would all but insure the independence of 
the Republic. 

In Pernambuco itself the United States was represented by Consul 
Joseph Ray, whose appointment was secured upon the recommenda- 
tion of Goncalves da Cruz. Consul Ray openly involved himself in the 
insurrection. He actively plotted with the rebels, and after the revolu- 
tion was suppressed, harbored some of the leaders of the movement in 
his house until they were forcibly taken by government authorities. 
Although Ray's conduct was condemned by the Portuguese as "criminal 
to the highest point," he was not imprisoned out of deference to the 
United States. 21 

As the preceding has demonstrated, Minister Sumter was totally 
incapable of fulfiling a good understanding and a harmonious relation- 
ship between the United States and the Braganza government. This was 
due to a number of circumstances, most importantly the difficulties en- 
gendered by the mutual disregard of the rules of neutrality. Admittedly, 
there was little that Sumter could have done about this or some other 
problems. But he certainly did little to alleviate the uncertain relations 
between the two countries by his aforementioned continual bickering 
with fellow American officials and with members of the Luso-Brazilian 
government, whose sensitivities he ruffled on more than one occasion. 
In a pointed criticism of Sumter's conduct, Secretary of State John 
Quincy Adams observed that 

Our relations with Portugal and Brazil have not been well cul- 
tivated. Their importance has not been duly estimated. The 
Minister, who has been there these ten years, was not a fortu- 
nate choice. His own temper is not happy. He has been repeatedly 
involved in quarrels of personal punctilio, even with members 


of the royal family. He is excessively argumentative, and spins 
out everything into endless discussions without ever bringing 
anything to a close. 22 

A less impartial observer, Henry Hill, also berated Sumter for his lack 
of civility in dealings with the Portuguese government. In Hill's opinion, 
Sumter had been occasionally treated with courtesy only because of the 
Court's "respect of the government of the United States, the fear of it, 
and the sincere desire to have its friendship — but not from any respect 
or fear of the minister — | unless perhaps] originating from his [ long] and 
awful letters, which frequently have never been read, and have often 
remained unanswered." 23 

Minister Sumter's failure to establish some rapport with the Portu- 
guese Court, and to accomplish any of the objectives of his mission, 
caused Secretary of State Adams to note that "the state of our affairs 
with Portuguese Government at Rio de Janeiro has been entangled in 
such a snarl of mismanagement and neglect that | nothing can be done] 
without a review of our political and commercial relations, both with 
Brazil and Portugal, for the last ten years." 24 Sumter himself recognized 
the futility of his continued presence in Rio when he admitted that he 
felt it advisable to "abstain as much as possible, and sometimes alto- 
gether, from undertaking to propose anything to the Portuguese govern- 
ment, in which either the interests or reputation of the United States are 
concerned,. . .lest I should afford it new occasions for treating them with 
neglect and disrespect." 25 Indeed, by the year 1818, Sumter's influence 
with the Portuguese Court had deteriorated to such an extent that when 
he routinely submitted several consular commissions to the Portuguese 
government for approval, the matter was completely ignored. Obviously, 
by the 1818 Sumter was unwelcome in Brazil. In August of that year he 
was recalled, which was not altogether contrary to the' Minister's wishes. 
As early as 1816 he had requested that he be relieved of his position. 

At the time of Sumter's departure from Brazil in mid 1819, relations 
between the United States and the Portuguese Court, in the opinion of 
John Quincy Adams, were marked with "so much ill blood. . .that it. . . 
festered into all but open hostility." In order to reestablish harmony and 
to renew commercial negotiations Adams secured the appointment of 
John Graham — a member of a previous Presidential Commission to 
South America — as minister to Brazil. 2h Graham set out for his post in 
late summer of 1819 with the conviction that his efforts towards con- 
ciliation would be useless. He was kept waiting several months after his 
arrival in Rio before being received at Court. At length he became so 
discouraged with the futility of his efforts that he recommended that the 
United States mission in Brazil be reduced to the rank of charge. Gra- 
ham returned to the United States after eight months in Rio. 27 

Shortly thereafter, in April, 1821, King Joao yielded to the demands 
of the Portuguese Courts and returned to Portugal, leaving his son, Dom 


Pedro, as regent of the Kingdom of Brazil. Graham's successor, charge 
John Appleton, followed the Portuguese monarch to Lisbon, and un- 
resolved disputes over neutral obligations were transferred to the realm 
of strictly Portuguese-American affairs. Thus ended thirteen years of 
unhappy relations between the United States and the Portuguese Court 
in Brazil. 

In tracing the relations of the United States with the Portuguese 
Court in Brazil, it must be concluded that the United States failed to 
cultivate harmonious relations with the Braganza government. This 
circumstance was due in large part to the inexperience, incompetence, 
and lack of tact of Thomas Sumter, Jr. But the very fact that the Depart- 
ment of State knowingly appointed an individual so unqualified suggests 
that the United States was not overly concerned with Brazil, and that the 
post in Rio was regarded as unimportant, even expendable. This seeming 
indifference was further evidenced both by the Department of State's 
brief and infrequent communications with the Minister, and by the fact 
that, in the years following his arrival in Rio, the matter of a commercial 
treaty was treated with decreasing importance and officially little was 
done to promote trade between the two countries. Moreover, even 
though by 1816 Washington was fully aware that Sumter's usefulness in 
Brazil had ended, three years passed before he was finally replaced. 

In the larger Latin American context, the neglectful attitude of the 
United States towards Brazil was not exceptional. During the early 
decades of the nineteenth century, the United States was diplomatically 
and commercially indifferent towards the whole of this region. This pos- 
ture is explained by the fact that domestic and European affairs were 
regarded as the major concerns of the United States, while Spain's 
colonies and Brazil were relegated to a position of tertiary importance. 
Although Latin America was generally viewed as a repository of enor- 
mous riches and as a vast future market for American goods, little was 
done to develop trade with the region; in fact, during the first quarter of 
the nineteenth century, this trade never exceeded ten to twelve per cent 
of our total foreign commerce. During the Napoleonic Wars the United 
States failed to increase its trade with Latin America and challenge its 
chief rival, England. This opportunity was lost because of restrictions on 
foreign trade in the United States — the most notable being Jefferson's 
Embargo — and our involvement in the War of 1812. Then too, the pos- 
sibilities for development within the United' States were tremendous, 
and this is where most excess capital was concentrated. 

Popular sentiment in the United States favored aiding the Latin 
American countries in their struggle for independence. However, the 
official attitude, as expressed by Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Madi- 
son, was one of neutrality, a view which arose from the opinion that the 


United States stood to benefit very little by extending military aid and 
formal diplomatic recognition to Latin America. It should be remem- 
bered that during the Latin American Wars of Independence the United 
States was fully occupied in delicate negotiations with Spain for the 
acquisition of the Floridas, and to have appeared less than neutral 
towards Spain's rebellious colonies would have endangered these nego- 
tiations. It was not until the final exchange of ratifications of the Adams- 
Onis Treaty in 1821 that the United States could afford to take an active 
interest in Latin America and recognize its independence. 

It is not surprising, then, that a man such as Thomas Sumter, Jr., 
(the first United States representative to Latin America with the rank of 
minister) was appointed to Brazil, or that the men who followed him 
were of the same low caliber. Nor is it surprising — in view of poor repre- 
sentation in Brazil, the lack of interest displayed by the United States, 
and the difficult issues which confronted the two countries — that the 
United States failed for decades to establish close relations with the Em- 
pire of Brazil which won its independence from Portugal in 1822. 


1 Secretary of State Robert Smith to Sumter, August 1, 1809, Diplomatic In- 
structions, All Countries, VII, National Archives. The Department of State 
manuscripts cited herein are housed in the National Archives, Washington, 
D.C., and are available on microfilm: Notes from the Portuguese Legation; 
Notes to Foreign Legations; Diplomatic Instructions. All Countries; Despatches 
From United States Ministers to Brazil; and Instructions to Consuls. Despatches 
From United States Consuls in Rio de Janeiro, unavailable on microfilm, were 
consulted at the National Archives. 

: Robert Livingston to Thomas Jefferson, October 28, 1802, Jefferson Papers, 
Vol. CXXVII (Folios 21900-21902). Library of Congress; also Anne King 
Gregorie, Thomas Sumter (Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan Company, 1931), p. 248. 

3 Accounts of this incident may be found in Sumter to Secretary of State James 
Monroe, September 29, 1815, Despatches From United States Ministers to 
Brazil, I; also, Lawrence Hill, Diplomatic Relations Between the United States 
and Brazil (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1932), pp. 7-8. 

4 Sumter to Smith, September 3, 1810, January 11, 1811; and Sumter to Monroe, 
September 24, 1812, Despatches From United States Ministers to Brazil, I. 

5 Monroe to Sumter, June 10, 1816, Diplomatic Instructions, All Countries, VIII. 

6 Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to John Graham, April 24, 1819, ibid. 

7 William Spence Robertson, France and Latin American Independence (Balti- 
more: John Hopkins Press, 1939), p. 22; also, Sumter to Monroe, October 1, 
1812, Despatches From United States Ministers to Brazil, I. 

N Great Britain, Foreign Office, British and Foreign State Papers (London: 

James Ridgway and Sons, 1841-1956), I, 543-57. 

' Sumter to Monroe, October 1, 1812, Despatches From United States Ministers 

to Brazil, I. These note an intercepted letter from Lord Strangford to Lord 

Castlereagh, September 30, 1812. 

10 Sumter to the Conde de Linhares, January 3, 1812; Sumter to the Conde de 


Galves May 17 and 13, 1813; the Conde de Galves to Sumter, May 22, 1813, 
Brasil, Ministerio das Relacoes Exteriores, Arquivo Historico do Itamarati 
(hereafter cited as MRE/AHdl), colecoes Especias (III): Casos com Estran- 
geiros, Estados Unidos— 1812-1813, Pasta 10, Lata 186, maco 1. See also, 
Sumter to Monroe, May 9 and February 22, 1813, Despatches From United 
States Ministers to Brazil, I. 

" Sumter to the Conde de Aguiar, January 15, 1813, Despatches From United 
States Ministers to Brazil, I. 

12 James Barnes, Naval Actions of the War of 1812 (New York: Harper and 
Brothers Publishers. 1896), pp. 239-240. 

13 Barnes, Naval Actions, p. 113. See also, Albert Gleaves, James Gleaves, Com- 
mander of the Chesapeake (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1904), pp. 115-116; 
and H. A. S. Dearborn, The Life of William Bainhridge, Esq., of the United 
States Navv, James Barnes (ed.), (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University 
Press, 1931). p. 98. 

14 Rademaker to Monroe, March 27, 1813, Notes From the Portuguese Lega- 
tion, I. 

15 Sumter to Monroe, February 22, 1813, Despatches From United States Min- 
isters to Brazil. I. 

[h Rademaker to Monroe, March 27, 1813, Notes From the Portuguese Lega- 
tion, I. 

17 See Hill, Diplomatic Relations. 16-19; John F. Cady, Foreign Intervention in 
the Rio de la Plata, 1838-50 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 
1929), pp. 2-9; William R. Manning, "An Early Diplomatic Controversy Between 
the United States and Brazil." Hispanic American Historical Review. I (May, 
1918), 126-128; and John Street, "Lord Strangford and the Rio de la Plata, 1808- 
1815," Hispanic American Historical Review, 33 (November. 1953). 477-510. 
IK Correa de Serra to Adams, March 8, October 15, December 11, 1818. and 
March 17 and December 23, 1819, Notes From the Portuguese Legation, I. 
14 Hill, Diplomatic Relations. 17; also, Monroe to Correa da Serra, December 
27. 1816. March 14 and October 23, 1818, and April 22, 1819, Notes to Foreign 
Legations, II. 

20 Hill, Diplomatic Relations. 25. 

21 Instructions of the Provisional Government of Pernambuco to Antonio Gon- 
calves da Cruz, March 27, 1817; and Antonio Goncalves da Cruz to the Provi- 
sional Government of Pernambuco, no date, MRE/AHdl, III colecoes Especias 
(30); Documentacao Anterior a 1822, Capitania de Pernambuco (Revolucao de 
Pernambuco), Pasta 5, Lata 195, maco 5; see also, Correa da Serra to Secretaries 
of State Richard Rush and John Ouincy Adams, May 13, 1817 and October 13, 
1818, Notes From the Portuguese Legation, I; Rush to Correa da Serra, May 22, 
24, and 28, 1817, Notes to Foreign Legations, II; Rush to Sumter, July 18, 1817 
and August 27, 1818, Diplomatic Instructions, All Countries, VIII. 

22 Charles Francis Adams, Memoirs of John Quincv Adams comprising portions 
of his Dian from 1795 to 1848 (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co.. 1874- 
1877), IV, 340. 

23 Sumter to Hill, November 4, 1818, Despatches From United States Consuls in 
Rio de Janeiro, Part 1, Vol. I. 

24 Adams to Graham. April 24, 1819, Diplomatic Instructions, All Countries. 


25 Sumter to Hill, November 4, 1818, Despatches From United States Consuls 
in Rio de Janeiro, Part 1, Vol. I. 

26 Adams, Memoirs of John Quincy Adams. IV, 339; also, Joseph Agan, The 
Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Brazil (Paris: Jouve et Cie, Edi- 
teurs, 1926), p. 119. 

27 Agan, Diplomatic Relations, 120-122. 





WITH CHILE, 1823-1850 

By T. Ray Shurbutt 

A nineteen gun salute heralded his arrival in Valparaiso, a twenty- 
two gun salvo accompanied his formal presentation of credentials in 
Santiago, and Supreme Director Ramon Freire offered him a personal 
honor guard and residence at Chilean governmental expense. Such 
pageantry and deference seemed to embarrass and overwhelm charge 
d'affaires Heman Allen, who arrived to commence formal relations in 
April, 1824. With little understanding of his duties or knowledge of what 
to expect in Chile, charge Allen like his successors soon discovered that 
he had to rely on his own resources and opinions in making decisions 
covering a whole spectrum of topics. 1 And our state department's negli- 
gent attitude toward Allen's repeated requests for definitive instructions 
on specific problems was certainly in glaring contrast to the importance 
the Chileans held for his position. 

Allen's isolation is exemplified by the fact that he learned of Henry 
Clay's appointment as Secretary of State through a newspaper, not an 
official dispatch, even though Clay had already served for half a year. 2 
Yet the best indication of the need for better communication is found in 
Allen's twenty-second dispatch written nineteen months after his glorious 
arrival in Santiago, stating that since he had not received "any communi- 
cation from his government. . . [he was] unable to determine whether 
or not [his] conduct corresponded to its views, hoping however, that no 
essential variation [had) intervened." 3 

Allen's mission was not unique in this feeling of isolation. During 
this period each of the six charges who followed Allen complained of 
identical sentiments of neglect. Samuel Larned's first substantive instruc- 
tions reached him twenty-six months after his appointment, and these 
instructions merely informed him that he had been transferred to Lima. 4 
In 1831, charge John Hamm categorically stated "here I am— completely 
isolated — not a single American of intelligence and standing in the 
whole city— No one. . .can form any idea of the embarrassments [one] 
has constantly to encounter in all his transactions with [this] Govern- 
ment and people speaking nothing but a foreign language." 5 And a year 
later with still no news from Washington, Hamm complained, "Not a 
single letter, the President's messages, or a Newspaper!! Most Astonish- 
ing!! Do you imagine, my dear friend, that I am dead?" 6 In July, 1837, 
charge Richard Pollard sarcastically complained of his need for news by 
stating, "By a stray paper which reached my hands. . .1 saw that Mr. Van 


Buren had been chosen by the people President of the United States." 7 
John Pendleton candidly described his post as "the most remote position 
in the whole line of Diplomatic service." 8 While charge William Crump 
was unwilling to openly complain or criticise the state department, he 
did mention that although our relations with Chile were in their twenty- 
third year the Santiago legation was still without an American flag. 9 And 
finally, Seth Barton — who was willing to criticise anyone or anything at 
any time — informed Secretary of State James Buchanan in April, 1848, 
that he had recently received several dispatches addressed to charge 
Crump, dating from August, 1846, which had "crossed both oceans and 
rounded Cape Horn four of five times" before arriving at last in 
Valparaiso. 10 

Washington's neglect and lackadaisical attitude regarding these 
charges' pleas for instructions becomes even more flagrant when one 
reviews the important decisions they were called upon to make. They 
negotiated and amended the commercial treaty with Chile, they sought 
the release of illegally seized U.S. merchant vessels, they were called 
upon to determine the American naval squadron's actions concerning 
military blockades, and they negotiated indemnity claims worth hundreds 
of thousands of dollars for U.S. citizens for property damages and 
seizures dating from Chile's independence struggle. And without any 
real aid from Washington, their own opinions and personalities frequently 
proved to be determinants in our relations with Chile on these and other 

The initial personality trait shown by charge Allen was his feeling of 
superiority over Chilean officials. He constantly wrote of his disappoint- 
ment over the lack of character and worthiness he found in Chile — "a 
rude and uneducated state, yet | requiring] nothing but the hand of 
civilization to entitle them to the proud appellation of freemen." 11 Cer- 
tainly Allen considered himself this needed "hand of civilization," as he 
determined to advise everyone from the Supreme Director, to judges, to 
the congressional committee charged with drafting a new constitution 
in 1825. 12 In all fairness to Allen, however, some guiding hand must have 
seemed necessary, since during his first fourteen months in Santiago no 
fewer than five cabinet shuffles occurred. 13 

Yet Allen's criticism of the Chilean government appears mild when 
compared to his vitriolic condemnation of the Catholic Church's influence 
in Chile. Allen was surprised that the Church was maintained as the 
state religion, a position which he felt was untenable for a nation 
pretending to be a republic. Allen referred to the Church as "an internal 
enemy, |an] incubus which stifles growth." 14 And as for the priesthood, 
he disgustingly reported that in Santiago alone "there are no less than 
eight hundred of these miserable beings. . . and a great portion of time 
is devoted to their ridiculous ceremonies." 15 

The instability of the Chilean government meant that Allen made 


no real progress on our citizens' claims cases he was charged with 
negotiating. The frustrations caused by his lack of success, coupled with 
lingering illnesses prompted him to move to Valparaiso during the last 
two years of his mission, 1825-1827. Interestingly, however, the legation 
secretary, Samuel Larned, remained in Santiago, and for all practical 
purposes it was he who carried out our diplomacy during this time. 
Larned was fluent in Spanish and was able to utilize his personal friend- 
ship with Chilean officials to achieve influence and goals Allen never 
could have dreamed. From 1825-1827, Secretary Larned by-passed 
Allen and sent dispatches directly to Washington, recommending changes 
in the approach concerning the claims cases and other matters. He con- 
sidered Allen's voluminous interchange of notes with the Chilean foreign 
ministry as "tardy" and "ineffectual," and he advised a more personal 
approach including a separate convention in which Chile would at least 
recognize the legality of claims cases. 16 

Larned knew that Allen had asked to be replaced, so with this in 
mind it is easy to discern his motives in taking an active, though 
unofficial, part in diplomacy. To bolster his credentials in asking for 
Allen's job, Larned informed Secretary of State Clay that he had 
recently published two articles in the Santiago papers defending U.S. 
governmental and religious principles and institutions. These articles, 
"Observations in Reply," were written to refute two others, "Memoria 
Politica" and "Abeja Chilena," by Manual Egana, who condemned 
North American institutions. Larned said he felt obligated, as a patriot, 
to respond to Egana, "finding that no one ventured or thought proper 
to come out in our defense." 17 

"Observations in Reply" was met with general praise by the leaders 
of the growing liberal factions throughout Chile and was then circulated 
in Buenos Aires, Peru, and Colombia. Gen. Francisco Pinto, Governor 
of Coquimbo and a close friend of Larned, had copies of the article 
distributed to all school boys so they could commit it to memory. 18 
Larned's reputation continued to gain status, and in the summer of 1826, 
he was asked by Jose Ignacio Cienfuegos, then President of the Chilean 
Congress, to serve as an observer-member of the committee charged 
with framing a new constitution. 19 Larned was far more than an observer. 
He actually authored the "Constitutive Act" which Cienfuegos submitted 
to Congress, only to be defeated by the conservatives who held a Con- 
gressional majority. 20 

Another example of Larned's influence and reputation was evidenced 
through his personal appeal to the Chilean Supreme Court for a review 
of a lower court's decision which had condemned and confiscated the 
U.S. schooner Chile for smuggling tobacco into the port of Talcahuanco, 
in February, 1825. The crew of the Chile had unsuccessfully attempted 
to hide their personal rations of cigars and tobacco when they entered 
the port to buy supplies, though they made no effort to sell these mono- 


poly items once ashore. The District Court of Concepcion had harshly 
decreed that not only was the contraband tobacco to be seized, but the 
court had also ordered the confiscation of the ship and its cargo of five 
thousand seal skins. Larned's personal appeal to the Supreme Court 
judges "who |were] all |his| personal friends," was effective and the ship 
and cargo were restored. 21 

When Allen took homeward passage on board the French merchant- 
man Charles Adolphus, on September 25, 1827, Larned could finally 
begin functioning in an official capacity. 22 He spent the next two years 
in intensive negotiations for the establishment of a commercial treaty. 
Neither Allen nor Larned had been instructed to initiate these discussions, 
but after Foreign Minister Carlos Rodriquez broached the issue, Larned 
proceeded with all deliberate haste. 23 On several occasions during 1826, 
minister Rodriquez had sought Larned's advice concerning Chile's com- 
mercial ventures, and in return for this aid Larned had been assured that 
U.S. commerce would be granted the status of "most favored nation" 
when the two countries formalized a trade agreement. 24 Larned con- 
sidered these assurances of utmost importance since Mexico, Buenos 
Aires, and Peru were conferring with Chile for the establishment of 
treaties which contained stipulations granting trade privileges to Spanish 
American nations. 25 Also, Larned hoped to use his influence to gain 
Chile's acceptance of a special convention attached to our treaty 
through which Chile would officially recognize the legality of U.S. 
claims cases. This convention would not, however, be viewed as a 
necessity. 26 

Although Rodriquez decided that formal negotiations should be 
conducted in Washington, not Santiago, Larned forwarded to Secretary 
Clay a completed proposal of thirty-six articles which included blank 
spaces for signatures and dates. It should be noted that Larned's pro- 
posal also included the principle of "most favored nation" (Art, 2&3) 
and a special provision guaranteeing freedom of worship for the citizens 
of the two countries residing within each other's boundaries (Art. 15). 27 
On June 7, 1829, Larned received his first dispatches from Clay. But 
rather than granting him the extended negotiating powers he had re- 
quested, Larned was astonished to discover he had been transferred to 
Lima as our first charge to Peru. While accepting his new post, he can- 
didly informed Clay that he preferred to remain in Chile where his in- 
fluence would enable him to render a more valuable service to his coun- 
try. 28 Larned soon learned that Martin Van Buren was the new Secretary 
of State in the newly inaugurated Jackson administration, and so he 
immediately appealed to Van Buren for permission to remain in Chile. 
Swearing his loyalty to the new administration, Larned assured Van 
Buren that he had never affiliated with any other political party or even 
"made use of, on a single occasion, the electoral franchise." 29 

Both his reasoning and vows of political loyalty failed to modify 


Van Buren's directive, and Larned officially took leave of the Chilean 
government on October 15, 1829. 30 During these last few months, 
Larned unsuccessfully tried to gain Chile's agreement to pay the indemni- 
ties sought in the Macedonian, Warrior, and Garret ships' claims cases. 
It is clear from this correspondence that Larned had become despondent 
and cynical over his transfer to Peru. His letters to his friend Rodriquez 
are laced with innuendos and loosely veiled threats of military action, 
since all other diplomatic avenues had failed to terminate these protracted 
cases. But why should Chile rush to resolve these claims when she knew 
that there was nothing to lose in waiting to treat with Larned's successor, 
whom they correctly reasoned would know little of these matters? 31 
And apparently the American State Department felt no inclination to 
proceed with haste either. Charge John Hamm was not appointed until 
May, 1830, 32 did not depart for his post until January, 1831, 33 and did 
not present his credentials in Santiago until May 26, 1831, nineteen 
months after Larned's departure. 34 

The two and a half year mission of John Hamm coincided with the 
beginning of political stability for Chile. The inauguration of Joaquin 
Prieto on September 18, 1831, witnessed the passage of the Chilean 
republic from infancy to adolescence, although certainly no real maturity 
was instantaneous. Hamm's efforts centered on two major subjects- 
claims cases (including the addition of the Trusty, Franklin, and Good 
Return claims) and his attempts to negotiate modifications to our 
pending commercial treaty. Hamm, like Larned, felt that the claims 
cases should be treated by affixing them to the commercial treaty in a 
special convention, and he repeatedly sought additional instructions on 
the subject. Of course, none came, and since the brilliant Andres Bello 
was appointed as "Chilean Plenipotentiary" for these discussions, Hamm 
certainly needed all the help he could muster. 35 Their conferences made 
rapid progress, and Bello and Hamm signed a preliminary agreement on 
May 16, 1832. Article Two stated that Chile would grant the U.S. the 
status of "most favored nation," except where Spanish American coun- 
tries were concerned. Hamm felt that this concession would be temporary 
and necessary in order to gain Chile's eventual acceptance of U.S. 
claims cases. 36 

The Chilean Congress ratified the treaty with several modifications 
in October, 1832, and Hamm forwarded it to Washington where review 
would be required before Hamm could agree to the changes. In this dis- 
patch to Secretary of State Edward Livingston, Hamm emphasized that 
provisions such as Article Eleven, permitting Protestant burials in 
Catholic graveyards, should not be considered lightly. No, indeed, the 
Catholic hierarchy of that "bigoted country" had strongly opposed this 
concession, but enlightened thinkers "viewed | it ] ... as the entering- 
wedge for the attainment of other desirable objects of both civil and 
religious nature." 37 There was an obvious gratification for Hamm in this 


"victory" over Catholicism, for in a private letter to a friend he states, 
"I found this wild beast in my road shortly after I started, and I was fully 
determined to meet and give him battle." 38 

Hamm waited thirteen months for instructions covering the Chilean 
modifications to the treaty. But when dispatches finally arrived, the 
treaty wasn't even mentioned. There was nothing more in these dis- 
patches than a few forms, a request for an inventory of the legation's 
holdings, and a mild reprimand of Hamm for not using the correct size 
paper for his dispatches. 39 Washington's views on the treaty finally ar- 
rived in September, 1833, and Hamm spent the remaining two months of 
his mission conferring with Bello and gaining final approval from the 
Chilean Congress. 40 When Hamm set sail for America on board the 
Lady Adams on November 27, he was accompanied by Manuel Carvallo 
who had been sent to formalize the treaty and open a legation in 
Washington. 41 

Consistent with our State Department's procedures, there was a 
lapse of seventeen months between Hamm's departure and the arrival of 
our new charge, Richard Pollard. Pollard's chief instructions were to 
continue pressing for a settlement in our claims cases and to attempt to 
amend the new commercial treaty so that U.S. commerce would gain 
equal status with Spanish American goods. 42 U.S. Minister Plenipoten- 
tiary to Madrid, John Van Ness, had succeeded in getting Spain to open 
talks with her former colonies seeking formal recognition, and Pollard 
was optimistic that Van Ness' assistance would pave the way for the 
attainment of his goals. 43 In his efforts to modify the treaty, Pollard de- 
clared that since Spain was no longer a common threat, the new Spanish 
American republics' preferential treatment was not really necessary. 
Then, too, Chile should not forget that our Monroe Doctrine under- 
scored her safety and "said to all Europe stand aloof— thou shall not aid 
in replacing those manacles of slavery upon these heroic people who 
have broken them asunder." 44 

Pollard's logic and rhetoric were politely received, yet proved in- 
effectual. Besides, Chile could not occupy herself with such minor 
subjects when there was the growing threat of war surfacing on the 
horizon. Gen. Andres Santa Crus's Bolivian Confederation had become 
increasingly anti-Chilean, and as war became imminent Pollard adopted 
the correct position of strict neutrality. Chile imposed an embargo on all 
neutral ships scheduled to leave her ports for Peru in August, 1836, and 
the U.S. merchantman Garafilia was detained for three weeks, suffering 
considerable damage to her perishable cargo. Pollard sought reparations 
under Article Five of our commercial treaty. 45 But it seemed that every 
new argument for reparations offered by Pollard was successfully coun- 
tered by Foreign Minister Diego Portales. Then Pollard discovered that 
Bello was the real author of these scholarly replies, and an enraged 
Pollard felt he had been duped. He became convinced that Chile had 


become anti-American, so he reciprocated by becoming anti-Bello, anti- 
Portales, and anti-Prieto to the point of actually hoping that a revolution 
would occur and cleanse Chile of her aristocratic and popish leaders. 46 

His not-so-diplomatic attitude manifested itself in a haughtily worded 
letter to Portales, which categorically accused Chile of precipitating the 
war, and he suggested that President Prieto should formally apologize 
for meddling in Peru's domestic affairs. 47 When Portales was assassinated 
in Valparaiso in June, 1837, during an attempted mutiny, Pollard com- 
mitted the tactless faux pas of not sending a letter of condolence over 
the nation's loss. 48 

Chile was victorious in defeating Santa Cruz in April, 1839, and 
Prieto's conservative control of the country was greatly enhanced. 
Pollard expected U.S. prestige to grow, since it had remained neutral 
while English and French war ships had blatantly ignored Chile's block- 
ading efforts along the Peuvian coast and escorted merchantmen through 
their inadequate patrols. Pollard's expectations were unfounded. At a 
banquet celebrating Chile's independence, attended by all Santiago's 
diplomatic corps, Pollard — ever on the watch for reasons to substantiate 
his growing paranoia — discovered that a British admiral was seated next 
to President Prieto, while he had been delegated to a lesser seating posi- 
tion. After suffering through the first course and being unable to abide 
this slight any longer, he curtly left his seat, walked to Prieto's table, and 
"turning indignantly went out of the room." 49 The banquet hosts offered 
their apologies, but faux pas Pollard never forgave them this slight 
against him and the honor of the U.S. 50 

From that point until the end of his mission in June, 1842, Pollard 
carried on voluminous correspondence with a special commission which 
Foreign Minister Manuel Renjifo appointed to resolve the intricacies of 
the Macedonian claim, amounting to $142,000. Pollard's tenacity achieved 
a compromise settlement at $104,000, but then he received instructions 
indicating that the Macedonian's owners were also seeking reparations 
of $70,400 from a second seizure of their ship. 51 Renjifo had been noti- 
fied that Pollard's replacement, John Pendleton, would soon arrive in 
Santiago, so he felt no compulsion to seek a definitive solution with 
Pollard to this second claim. After all, didn't a new charge mean that 
Chile's charade of delays, counter claims, and discoveries of "new evi- 
dence" could begin anew? But had Renjifo foreseen the volatile demeanor 
of charge Pendleton, he would have rushed to sign agreements with 
Pollard to settle all outstanding differences between the two countries. 

During late May and early June, 1842, Pollard met with Pendleton 
in Valparaiso, where the latter was able to gain valuable knowledge 
about the claims cases and prejudiced insights concerning the person- 
alities of the Chilean officials. 52 Pendleton decided to adopt the strata- 
gem of non-compromise coupled with open references to U.S. naval 
power, and within six months Chile agreed to begin immediate payment 


on the Macedonian's first claim. 53 Quite self-satisfied, Pendleton then 
began correspondence dealing with the Macedonian's second claim, 
confident that by reasserting a militant tone Chile would acquiesce to 
his demands. His January 9, 1844 letter openly accused Chile of diversion 
and procrastination in this matter— measures which he described as 
hardly consistent with the "Perfect Justice" promised by President 
Manuel Bulnes. This letter ended with a threat of military recourse if 
Chile suggested further delays in the settlement. 54 

Foreign Minister Ramon Luis Yrarrazaval replied to Pendleton's 
letter by stating that he considered the letter personally slanderous and 
totally void of the dignity associated with diplomatic intercourse. Further- 
more, if Pendleton persisted in that tactless tone, Yrarrazaval's depart- 
ment would reject all future correspondence with him. 55 Undaunted 
and self-righteous as ever, Pendleton informed Yrarrazaval that the 
incompetence of Chile's translator was to blame for the minister's mis- 
interpretation of his tone. Then Pendleton demanded an immediate 
apology. 56 One hundred days later, he received a fifty-seven page reply 
from Yrarrazaval, again reiterating Chile's intransigence on the matter 
and informing Pendleton that he had addressed a letter to Washington 
in protest of Pendleton's conduct. 57 Secretary of State John C. Calhoun 
apparently did not share Yrarrazaval's assessment of Pendleton's actions, 
and there is no record of any departmental censure of Pendleton after 
he ended his mission in June, 1844. However, his replacement, William 
Crump, was extremely cordial in his relations with Chilean officials, 
even though in substance he accomplished little else. 58 

There was a year's gap between Pendleton's departure and Crump's 
arrival in Santiago in June, 1845. While not unusual, this suspension in 
direct relations appears especially unfortunate when one remembers 
that the middle and late 1840's witnessed a general anti-American senti- 
ment in Chile and throughout Latin America. Had Crump arrived 
sooner, his tactful manner and patience could have helped counter 
Chile's fears of U.S. imperialism, emanating from actions against Mexico 
over the Texas controversy. Pendleton's mission had, of course, only 
served to intensify this anti-American image. 59 In his dealings with the 
Macedonian's second claim and other claims cases. Crump's position 
was always one of firmness tempered with patience. Foreign Minister 
Manuel Montt seemed as anxious as Crump to resolve these issues, and 
in late 1846, Manuel Carvallo was again sent as minister to Washington 
with specific instructions to facilitate a settlement. Carvallo praised 
Crump's professional attributes and lobbied against anyone of Pendleton's 
nature being chosen to follow Crump. 60 

Characteristically, it was Foreign Minister Camilo Vial, not the 
State Department, who informed Crump that he had been replaced. 61 
Vial was apprehensive over Carvallo's report concerning the new appoint- 
ment of Col. Seth Barton as charge. His appointment had not gone un- 


challenged in Congress, and Washington gossip circles heaved with 
rumors over his arrogance and witless urbanity. 62 It seems perfect irony 
that Barton arrived in Valparaiso on Christmas morning, 1847, on board 
the British steamer Chile — Barton proved to be the "Christmas present" 
that could even turn a Catholic nation against this holiest of days. 63 His 
two year mission was filled with constant bickering, unfounded accusa- 
tions of personal slander, violent clashes with Chile's Catholic hierarchy, 
and even an episode in which his carriage horses were placed under 
arrest by the Santiago police. 

Barton did succeed, however, in modifying the commercial treaty 
concerning the "most favored nation" principle. Since the signing of the 
1833 treaty, Chile had negotiated several similar treaties with her sister 
republics, whose products were given preferred treatment over U.S. 
goods. All this was quite correct, of course, but Barton discovered that 
Chile's 1845 treaty with Spain granted Spanish imports equality with 
those of all nations, including Spanish America. Barton demanded that 
U.S. and Spanish imports be placed on equal footing — that of "most 
favored nation." 64 Vial delayed action on Barton's demands nine months, 
and then he ordered Carvallo to enact Article Thirty-one of our treaty 
which automatically terminated the agreement at the end of one year. 
The treaty expired on January 20, 1850, and no new commercial nego- 
tiations were undertaken until 1852. 65 

In September, 1848, Barton began a courtship with the aristocratic 
Isabel Asta-Buruaga, a romance that quickly became one of the promi- 
nent topics of conversation among Santiago's social elite. When Barton, 
a divorced Protestant, announced his intention to marry Isabel, their 
engagement was transformed into a battlefield for Chile's liberals trying 
to diminish the Church's influence. Archbishop Rafael Valentin rose to 
meet this liberal challenge and used the full weight of his primateship to 
oppose the marriage. 66 Valentin refused to grant a dispensation for 
Isabel on the grounds that a "North American" had told him that Barton 
had a wife in New Orleans. 67 Even Barton's sworn disposition to the 
contrary failed to change the archbishop's mind, and an enraged Barton 
soon surmised that it had been "a sad mistake to have looked for Chris- 
tian justice at his Reverence's hands." 68 Isabel's love for Barton was 
stronger than the archbishop's threats of perdition, and on December 
28, 1848, they were married in the U.S. legation by the chaplain of the 
U.S.S. Razee Independence. A few friends, Isabel's irreconcilable family, 
and several members of the diplomatic corps attended the ceremony. 69 

Since none of the invited Chilean officials attended the wedding, 
citing "grave impediments" to excuse their absences, Barton interpreted 
their actions as evidence of their disapproval. 70 Archbishop Valentin 
publicly proclaimed the marriage illegal, accused Barton of perjury and 
bigamy, and referred to Isabel as one who had lost her virtue and was in 
danger of losing her soul. Furious, Barton demanded an apology from 


Valentin and indicted minister Vial for refusing to guarantee the protec- 
tion due foreign envoys. 71 

It seemed to Barton that everyone had turned against him, and his 
actions during his remaining five months in Chile resemble those of a 
madman viciously striking out at innumerable foes — real and imagined. 
Exemplary of his sad mental state was the fact that when a Santiago 
policeman caught Barton's runaway carriage horses and placed them in 
the city stables to await ownership identification. Barton launched an 
official protest against the police's usurpation of jurisdiction over Amer- 
ican property. He refused to accept the horses' return without an official 
apology from Vial. 72 Only Isabel gave him warmth and comfort during 
this trying time — she announced her pregnancy — and as they boarded 
the U.S.S. Dale on May 26, 1849, to begin their stormy voyage around 
Cape Horn, Chilean authorities surely breathed sighs of relief. 73 

While unique in several ways, Barton's mission exemplified how 
personality coupled with feelings of isolation from Washington influenced 
U.S. diplomacy during our first generation of relations with Chile. 


1 Heman Allen to John Q. Adams, April 29, 1824, Dispatches from U.S. Min- 
isters to Chile. 1823-1906. Vol. 1, (General Records of the Department of State. 
Washington, National Archives). Referred to subsequently as Dispatches. Allen 
actually considered his post as little more than a sinecure, as indicated by his 
letter of acceptance in which he requested permission to retain his position of 
District Marshal of Vermont. Ibid. Allen to Adams, February 15, 1823. 

2 Ibid.. Allen to Henry Clay, September 1, 1825. 

3 Ibid.. Allen to Clay, November 5, 1825. 

4 Ibid., Vol. Ill, Samuel Larned to Clay, June 9, 1829. 

5 Ibid.. John Hamm to Martin Van Buren, July 20, 1831. 

6 Ibid., Hamm to "My Dear Friend," May 31, 1832. 

7 Ibid. Vol. V, Richard Pollard to John Forsyth, July 12, 1837. 

8 Ibid.. Vol. VI, John Pendleton to Abel P. Upsher, October 30, 1843. 

9 Ibid.. William Crump to James Buchanan, March 18, 1846. For eight years the 
legation did not have an official seal. Ibid.. Vol. Ill, Hamm to Van Buren, June 
20, 1831. 

10 Ibid.. Vol. VII, Seth Barton to Buchanan, April 25, 1848. 

11 Ibid. Vol. I, Allen to Adams, April 29, 1824. 

12 Ibid.. Allen to Adams, July 19, 1824. Allen had stated earlier that he would 
decline to comment on any subject other than those specifically dealing with 
United States relations with Chile. Ibid.. May 26, 1824. 

13 Ibid., June 24, 1825. Shortly before Allen left Chile he sarcastically mentioned 
that during his mission he had corresponded with nine different foreign ministers. 
Ibid, Vol. II, Allen to Clay, May 14, 1827. 

14 Ibid. Vol. I, Allen to Adams, May 26, 1824. 


15 Ibid., Allen to Adams, April 29, 1824. Allen's quote is yet another indication 
of his lack of understanding concerning Chilean cultural traditions. Catholicism 
has of course remained strong, as the renowned Gabriela Mistral stated, "You 
will understand us only if you remember always that Chile is Catholic. Even 
Chileans who are not Catholics are Catholic of the soul." Erna Fergusson, Chile 
(New York, 1943), p. 27. 
15 Ibid.. Lamed to Clay, October 12, 1825. 

17 Ibid.. Larned to Clay, November 5, 1825. 

18 Ibid.. Larned to Clay, March 16, 1826. 

19 Ibid.. Vol. II, Jose Ignacio Cienfuegos to Larned, July 12, 1826. 

20 Ibid.. Francisco Pinto to Larned, September 17, 1826. Pinto referred to 
Larned as "mi guerido amigo." Ibid.. Larned to Clay, November 10, 1826. 

21 Ibid.. Larned to Clay, August 25, 1826. 

22 Ibid., Allen to Clay, September 19, 1827. Confirmation of Larned's promotion 
did not reach him until April 14, 1827. Ibid.. Larned to Clay, April 19, 1827. 
Larned's official credentials did not arrive in Santiago until October, 1828. Ibid., 
Vol. IV, Larned to Clay, November 9, 1828. 

23 Ibid. Vol. Ill, Larned to Clay, April 11, 1828. 

24 Ibid., Vol. II, Larned to Clay, November 1, 1827. 

25 Ibid. 

26 Ibid. Vol. Ill, Larned to Clay, May 10, 1828. 

27 Ibid. Larned to Clay, January 23, 1829. 

28 Ibid., Larned to Van Buren, June 12, 1829. Larned thought that Washington 
wanted to have only one charge for the Pacific coast. 

29 Ibid. Larned to Van Buren, July 8, 1829. 

30 Ibid. Larned to Van Buren, October 20, 1829. 

31 Ibid.. Larned to Carlos Rodriquez, October 10, 1829. 

32 Ibid, Hamm to Van Buren, June 9, 1830. 

33 Ibid.. Hamm to Van Buren, December 17, 1830. Hamm's first embarkation, 
on board the Gov. Clinton, was aborted because of a storm, necessitating his 
securing passage on the Don Quixote. How appropriate! Ibid.. Hamm to Van 
Buren, January 2, 1831. 

34 Ibid., Hamm to Van Buren, June 20, 1831. 

35 Ibid. 

36 Ibid., Hamm to Edward Livingston, May 20, 1832. 

37 Dispatches. Hamm to Livingston, October 5, 1832. 

38 Ibid. Hamm to "My Dear Friend," May 30, 1832. 

39 Ibid., Hamm to Livingston, July 12, 1833. 

40 Ibid., Hamm to Livingston, September 22, 1833. 

41 Ibid., Hamm to Livingston, November 23, 1833. 

42 William R. Sherman, The Diplomatic and Commercial Relations of the 
United States and Chile. 1820-1914 (Boston, 1926), pp. 31-32. 

43 Manuel Carvallo to John Forsyth, November 15, 1834, Notes from the 
Chilean Legation. 181 1-1906. Vol. I, (General Records of the Department of 
State. Washington, National Archives.) Referred to subsequently as Notes. 

44 Dispatches, Vol. IV, Pollard to Joaquin Tocornal, April 15, 1835. 

45 Ibid, Pollard to Forsyth, August 17, 1836. 


46 Ibid., Pollard to Forsyth, December 27, 1836. 

47 Ibid., Vol. V, Pollard to Forsyth, February 12, 1837. 

48 Ibid., Pollard to Forsyth, July 12, 1837. 

49 Ibid., Pollard to Forsyth, September 29, 1839. 

50 Ibid., Manuel Renjifo to Pollard, September 30, 1839. 

51 Ibid., Pollard to Forsyth, July 9, 1840. 

52 Ibid., Pendleton to Daniel Webster, June 19, 1842. 

53 Dispatches, Pendleton to Webster, December 4, 1842. 

54 Ibid., Vol. VI, Pendleton to Ramon Yrarrazaval, January 9, 1844. 

55 Ibid., Yrarrazaval to Pendleton, February 2, 1844. 

56 Ibid., Pendleton to Yrarrazaval, February 5, 1844. 

57 Notes, Vol. I, Yrarrazaval to Abel P. Upshur, June 12, 1844. 

58 Sherman, Relations with Chile, 45-47. Pendleton was appointed as U.S. 
Charge d* Affaires to Buenos Aires in 1851. Dumas Malone, editor. Dictionary 
of American Biography (New York, 1930), XIV, 422. 

59 Dispatches, Vol. VI, Crump to John C. Calhoun, June 3, 1845. 

60 Diego Barros Arana, Un decenio de la historia de Chile (1841-1851). (Santiago 
de Chile, 1906), I, 554. For sixteen months Buchanan did not respond to Car- 
vallo's request for a conference on the Macedonian debacle. Notes, Vol. I, Car- 
vallo to Buchanan, March 28, 1848. 

61 Dispatches, Vol. VI, Crump to Buchanan, October 18, 1847. 

62 Barros Arana, Un decenio, 553-554. 

63 Dispatches. Vol. VI, Barton to Buchanan, December 30. 1847. 

64 Ibid., Barton to Buchanan, April 25, 1848. 

65 Henry Clay Evans, Jr.. Chile and Its Relations with the United States 
(Durham, N.C.. 1927), p. 74. 

66 Antonio Iniquez Vicuna. Historia del periodo revolucionario en Chile, 1848- 
51 (Santiago de Chile, 1905). pp. 238-241. 

67 Barros Arana, Un decenio. 557. 

68 Dispatches, Vol. VII, Barton to Camilo Vial. April 18, 1849. 

69 Ihiquez Vicuna, Periodo revolucionario. 249. 

70 Dispatches. Vol. VII, Barton to Vial, December 28, 1848. 

71 Ibid., Barton to Vial, april 18. 1849. 

72 Ibid, Barton to John M. Clayton, November 30. 1849. 

73 Ibid.. Barton to Clayton. May 26, 1849. 



By Louis A. Perez, Jr. 

Electoral politics in Plattist Cuba set into relief the anomalous fea- 
tures of a political system straining to meet the requirements of legitimiz- 
ing agencies abroad and the needs of diverse constitutencies at home. 
The quadrennial quest for the Presidential Palace in particular, during 
which American policymakers and Cuban politicos made the most 
intensive demands on the political order, tended to heighten the contra- 
dictions endemic to the national system. Between 1916 and 1917, some 
of the more notable anomalies of the Plattist system acquired an insti- 
tutional quality in Cuban politics. 

In mid-1915, President Mario G. Menocal shattered national calm 
with an announcement stating his intention to seek another term. Presi- 
dential re-election had long been a source of intense national contro- 
versy. The Cuban Constituent Assembly in 1901 reluctantly approved in 
principle — and only after hours of acrimonious debate — the juridical 
validity of re-election. 1 In the arena of practical politics, however, 
distant from the debates on constitutional theory, re-election served to 
exacerbate political controversy and intensify partisan struggles. Re- 
electionism became quickly associated with government fraud, coercion, 
and violence. Indeed, for those in office, incumbency offered monopoly 
access to the vital instruments of State to promote re-election; the elec- 
toral agei. ! ?s, the courts, and the armed forces, applied to the pursuit 
of partisan objectives, conferred on the incumbent advantages well 
beyond the reach of his challenger. 2 A constitutionally legitimate end 
involved often unconstitutional means. 

The passions aroused by re-electionism, however, reflected some- 
thing considerably more than an outcry of injured constitutional sensi- 
bilities. Monopolization of national office by one party or faction threat- 
ened to block for others access to the sinecures of State. Insofar as the 
State served as the major source of employment, 3 elections institution- 
alized among political contenders a process by which all participants 
shared, more or less equally, a guaranteed access to government. 

The forms of conventional electoral competition disguised the ur- 
gent non-political issues of national elections. Cuban politics early 
acquired a particular distributive quality. With so much of national 
wealth in the hands of foreigners, national office guaranteed the victorious 
constituency access to the levers of resource and benefit allocation in 
the only enterprise wholly Cuban — government. For the members of the 


generation of '95, many of whom had devoted the better part of their 
adulthood to the disinterested pursuit of Cuban independence, republican 
politics served as the means of acquiring and expanding personal eco- 
nomic power. Re-election designs, in which incumbent access to the 
machinery of State virtually assured a second term, violated the informal 
intra-elite understanding by threatening to withdraw from circulation 
the sources of economic well-being. By virtue of the resources available 
to the chief executive seeking another term, elections involving the 
incumbent offered the opposition little more than the opportunity to 
participate in — and thereby lend legitimacy to— a ritualized sanction of 
presidential imposicion. If in the end constitutional means failed to dis- 
lodge incumbent authorities according to prescribed electoral methods, 
the nature of the stakes required the opposition, alternatively, to resort 
to force. 

After 1905-1906, a resort to arms to protest re-election fraud no 
longer represented merely a hypothetical response to a theoretical prob- 
lem. The re-election of Tomas Estrada Palma, the result, the Liberals 
charged, of widespread government fraud and abuse, had plunged Cuba 
into civil war in 1906. 4 Only United States intervention in response to 
Estrada's appeal for assistance had saved the beleaguered Moderate 
Government from falling to insurgent Liberal armies. 

Subsequent inquiry into the conduct of elections by the United 
States upheld Liberal charges of electoral irregularities. 5 Elections two 
years later, supervised by the American Provisional Government, swept 
Liberals into national office, vindicating further in the eyes of Party 
leaders the efficacy of the decision to rebel in 1906. Armed protest, even 
if unconsummated by the American intervention, had nonetheless re- 
stored to the electoral system the balance jeopardized by re-electionism. 

President Menocal's decision in 1915 to seek another term, there- 
fore, struck Cuba with the impact of a thunderbolt. Leaders of both 
parties received news of Menocal's plans with dismay. Many in the 
president's own party reacted adversely to re-nominating Menocal for a 
second term. 6 Insofar as re-nomination functioned within the party 
structure in much the same fashion as re-election in the national system, 
a second term for the incumbent promised to confine public office to 
the menocalista faction of the Conservative Party. Liberals, for their 
part, approached the election with greater misgivings than their Conser- 
vative rivals. As the party victimized by re-electionist abuses in 1905, the 
prospect of again campaigning against an incumbent caused Liberals to 
view Menocal's candidacy with considerable alarm. 

Beyond domestic political considerations, both Conservatives and 
Liberals approached national elections in 1916 fully sensitive to the dip- 
lomatic context of Cuban politics. The conditions imposed on Cuban 
independence at the end of the American military occupation in 1902 
had effectively subjected Cuban sovereignty to United States supervision. 


The government of Cuba, Article III of the Piatt Amendment stipulated, 
"consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for 
the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a govern- 
ment adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual 
liberty." 7 

In principle the Piatt Amendment tended to invest American 
support effectively in constituted authorities. The United States commit- 
ment to constituted government conferred on incumbent authorities 
considerable advantage in the arena of national politics. Specifically, the 
Piatt Amendment, as the understood basis of United States Cuban 
policy, encouraged outright an incumbent party, assured of American 
diplomatic support, to contrive re-election through illegal if ostensibly 
constitutional methods. Woodrow Wilson's Latin American policy, in 
condemning as a matter of principle all changes of government occurring 
outside prescribed parliamentary norms, heightened the advantage of 
incumbency. The renewed emphasis on constitutionality offered Conser- 
vatives ideal conditions under which to seek another term. Conservative 
leaders, as well as the old Moderate Party before them, understood the 
Piatt Amendment to commit American support to the de jure govern- 
ment against all internal challenges. 8 Incumbent politicos, monopolizing 
the constitutional approaches to office and invested with American 
support as the duly constituted authorities, could proceed with re- 
electionist designs and defy the opposition to take up arms in protest. 
American policy offered the opposition no sanctioned alternative to 
"constitutional" unsurpation of power other than passive acquiescence; 
preoccupied with stability rather than the quality of constitutionality, 
Washington took little policy cognizance of "constitutional" usurpation 
by incumbent authorities. Indeed, the decision by Menocal to seek re- 
election may have been inspired by his assumption that Wilson's policy 
all but fc lally guaranteed the incumbent a second term. 9 

If in principle the Piatt Amendment and Wilsonian policy encour- 
aged Conservative incumbents to hazard re-election, in practice Ameri- 
can diplomacy offered the Liberal opposition sufficient precedents 
around which to organize an anti-re-election electoral strategy based on 
a resort to arms. Two compelling factors moved the threat of revolution 
to a position of central importance in the Liberal election campaign. 
First, the only leverage available to the Liberal opposition with which to 
persuade the incumbent administration to restrain partisan excesses lay 
in raising the spectre of revolution protesting fraud and coercion at the 
polls. In this sense, the invocation of revolution served notice on 
national authorities that an illegal imposition of a second term would 
not go unchallenged. Secondly, and perhaps ultimately of greater signifi- 
cance, the very construct of United States Cuban policy had demon- 
strated to the Liberals the efficacy of the revolutionary response to the 
constitutional usurpation of power. The successful resort to arms in 


1906 had established a compelling precedent in Cuban politics. By 
raising the spectre of revolution, Liberals effectively converted the 
conduct of elections from a purely national process to a proceeding 
impinging directly on Cuban-American treaty relations. In effect. Liberal 
strategy appealed directly to Washington and generated pressure on the 
State Department to assume some responsibility for honest elections. 
If, in fact, the consequences of a disputed election threatened "life, 
property and individual liberty," as the Liberals announced in advance, 
then the very conduct of elections passed under the purview of the Piatt 
Amendment. 10 The Liberals sought to mobilize, from extra-national 
sources, pressure on national authorities to conduct honest elections- 
elections they were confident of winning if properly conducted." 

Menocal's campaign confirmed the Liberals' worst fears. Pro-govern- 
ment military interventors displaced civilian officials not entirely com- 
mitted to the Conservative cause. Government authorities increased 
harassment of opposition candidates and Liberal electors; violence, 
shootings, and, occasionally mysterious murders increased as election 
day neared. 12 

The administration's re-election efforts, however, failed to neutralize 
the preponderance of Liberal voters. Within hours of the closing of the 
polls, Liberal presidential candidate Alfredo Zayas began to move 
steadily ahead of his Conservative opponent. On November 2, a day 
after the election, preliminary returns indicated a Liberal sweep of four 
provinces, assuring Zayas of the presidency. Facing the prospect of his 
defeat at the polls, Menocal intervened directly in the tabulation 
process. 13 Telegraph and telephone communication between local elec- 
tion precincts and the Central Electoral Board ceased operations in- 
explicably. Election returns in the custody of government offices were 
altered. 14 In violation of the Electoral Code, returns reaching Havana 
passed through the highly politicized Department of Governacion before 
reaching the Central Electoral Board. When the Central Board protested, 
returns from the provinces ceased flowing to Havana altogether. 15 

The interruption of returns plunged the island into a political crisis. 
Amidst charges and counter-charges of fraud and trickery, outraged 
Liberals moved the island closer toward civil war. 

National tensions eased somewhat in mid-November when both 
parties agreed to submit the disputed election to the adjudication of 
appropriate electoral and judicial agencies. In the last week of Decem- 
ber, the Central Board ruled in favor of the Liberal Party. The electoral 
tribunal awarded the provinces of Havana and Camaguey to the Liberals; 
the Conservatives received Pinar del Rio and Matanzas. The Central 
Board also scheduled new partial elections for February 14 and February 
20 in disputed precincts to resolve the disposition of Las Villas and 
Oriente. Victory in either province guaranteed Zayas the presidency. 
The electoral tribunal, lastly, awarded the Liberals a majority of 1,164 


votes in Las Villas. Only six precincts, representing a maximum number 
of some 1,500 votes remained in dispute. With neither party claiming 
preponderant strength in the disputed districts, the Board's ruling 
seemed to ensure a Liberal victory. 

The decision of the Central Electoral Board, subsequently upheld 
in January by the Supreme Court, ended all reasonable likelihood the 
administration would secure a second term at the polls. Unless the 
government overcame the deficit in Las Villas, an unlikely development, 
the American Minister reported, "the decision of the court as to Santa 
Clara assures a national Liberal victory." 16 

Within days of the Supreme Court decision, government authorities 
resumed the anti-Liberal campaign. Havana authorized the distribution 
of considerable quantities of arms and ammunition among Conservative 
partisans in precincts scheduled for partial elections. 17 In Las Villas, 
Havana unabashedly assigned pro-government army offices to serve as 
Military Supervisors. 18 Officials with pro-government sympathies as- 
sumed control of precinct posts and telegraph offices. 19 

On February 1, 1917, Liberal Party leaders convened in Havana to 
exchange impressions of the political situation. No one within the 
Liberal Directorate harbored illusions about Conservative intentions for 
the upcoming partial elections. The issue before the Liberal chieftains in 
early February, rather, consisted entirely of party strategy in the face 
of almost certain government fraud and coercion at the polls. One fac- 
tion of the party, represented by Alfredo Zayas, proposed appealing to 
the United States to supervise the partial elections. Former president 
Jose Miguel Gomez headed another faction opposing the project. 20 To 
invite American intermeddling in Cuban political affairs, miguelistas 
contended, opened the party to charges of collaborating with foreigners 
to compromise national sovereignty. More to the point — and the central 
issue — to pursue supervision publicly without success would cause the 
Liberal Party lasting damage nationally without satisfactorily resolving 
the immediate question of partial elections. In a compromise settlement, 
party leaders agreed to seek American assistance publicly only after 
having received in advance a private commitment from Washington to 
supervise elections. In early February, Zayas related privately the 
purport of the party compromise to the American Minister, asking the 
Legation to transmit the Liberal request to the State Department. 21 

At some point during Liberal deliberations in early February, more- 
over, party leaders also completed arrangements for an alternative 
course of action. Plans for the long threatened Liberal uprising were 
consummated. Only a disagreement over timing between the miguelista 
sector, advocating a strike before the partial elections, and the Zayas 
faction, arguing for a postponement until after February 14, separated 
the party leadership. Liberal chieftains did agree, however, on a plot 
organized around a far-flung conspiracy with leaders of the army. The 


plan consisted of a swift seizure of military installations in Havana 
seconded by army take-overs in provincial capitals. 23 

In early February the conspiracy remained only a well-organized 
alternative to unsatisfactory policy responses from Washington. Through 
the first week of February, 1917, Liberal authorities continued to search 
in Washington for a solution to the political impasse. By February 10, 
more than a week had passed without response since Zayas had 
appealed privately to the Legation for supervision. With partial elections 
only four days off, Washington's silence offered Liberals little hope of 
United States surveillance of government conduct of the balloting. 
During February 9-10, moreover, government authorities had uncovered 
the most exposed roots of the Liberal military conspiracy in Havana. 
After the arrest of key officers in Camp Columbia and La Cabana, the 
Liberal plot in the capital collapsed. Facing the prospect of the nation- 
wide conspiracy unraveling by disclosures in Havana, and despairing of 
American supervision, the Liberal leadership moved against the government. 

Within forty-eight hours, the Liberals established mastery over the 
two eastern provinces of Oriente and Camagiiey and partial control over 
Las Villas; insurgent bands operated throughout the national territory. A 
quarter of the army had flocked immediately to Liberal banners. In all, 
some 30,000 men had taken up arms to support the Liberal protest. 24 

Almost immediately an uneasy truce settled between both armed 
camps. Both Liberals and Conservatives turned to Washington for the 
crucial margin of support in the Cuban contest. The Liberal decision to 
remain under arms after the still-born coup in Havana stemmed not so 
much from an expectation of defeating the menocalistas in the field as it 
did on the anticipation of a favorable American policy response. Given 
the binding nature of Cuban-American treaty relations, particularly 
United States responsibility for political stability on the island, the insur- 
gent leadership reasoned that the spectre of civil war in Cuba perforce 
involved the United States. Out of this treaty commitment, the Liberals 
expected to obtain minimally a favorable mediation of the dispute. If all 
else failed, a prolonged insurgency designed specifically to activate the 
intervention clause of the Piatt Amendment, offered still another alter- 
native method of overturning the Conservative government. 

Two days after the ill-fated coup in Havana, the Liberal Directorate 
reissued in the United States its original demand for honest elections. 
The willingness to revive original objectives did not result entirely from 
defeat. On the contrary, it stemmed from an appreciation of actual suc- 
cesses, more specifically, the movement's potential. Entrenched securely 
in the eastern province, districts of considerable American investment, 
the Liberals offered to trade-off peace and continued war-time prosperity 
for honest elections. 

Menocal, for his part, avoided admitting — as Estrada Palma had in 
1906— the need for American military assistance. On the contrary, 


Havana repeatedly assured Washington it possessed the capacity to 
suppress the revolt expeditiously, with minimum loss to foreign interests, 
and without American armed assistance. Menocal carefully refrained 
from asking Washington for anything more than "moral support" and 
"benevolent neutrality." 25 However bleak the future of his administration 
may have appeared in mid-February, and, indeed, at one point, few in 
Havana expected the Conservative government to survive the Liberal 
challenge, Menocal recalled only too well the fate of the Estrada govern- 
ment and never admitted that events in Cuba had developed beyond the 
control of authorities in the capital. 

Unwilling to intervene militarily in Cuba in February, 1917, Wash- 
ington sought diplomatically to bolster the badly shaken Menocal govern- 
ment. The course of the revolt in the first seventy-two hours had left 
Havana seriously weakened and highly vulnerable to the gathering insur- 
gent momentum. Having lost immediately almost half the island to 
insurgent forces, Menocal's ability to survive the Liberal challenge rested 
entirely on his capacity to contain any further erosion of his support in 
the western provinces. In mid-February, many supporters in pro-govern- 
ment ranks included persons awaiting only a more propitious moment to 
defect to the rebel forces. The swift suppression of the conspiracy in 
Havana had allowed many committed but uncompromised pro-Liberal 
officers to remain in the armed forces undetected. Although several 
members of the Liberal congressional delegation had joined the Party 
leadership immediately in the field, many more had delayed making a 
final commitment to arms pending the outcome of early fighting; a defec- 
tion of any magnitude threatened to deprive Congress of a quorum and 
cripple national legislative processes. 

Washington hoped through diplomatic support to aggregate for the 
beleaguered Conservatives the strength they lacked nationally. An expres- 
sion of American support of Menocal was vital on several counts. Most 
immediately, such a statement would serve to disabuse the insurgent 
Liberals of the prevailing supposition that, as in 1906, Washington 
planned to intervene militarily to resolve the dispute. No other single 
belief was as vital to Liberal strategy as the expectation of American 
intervention. The decision to remain in the field well after the failure of 
the coup rested almost wholly on Liberal hopes of United States inter- 
vention. Equally important, once the army received assurances that the 
United States would not abandon Conservatives, thereby foreclosing any 
possibility — as had happened to the armed forces in 1906— that the pro- 
government activities of the military in the course of the campaign would 
be subject to the scrutiny of American investigators and the reprisal of a 
subsequent Liberal regime, army leaders had little inclination to defect to 
what seemed a cause diplomatically foredoomed to disappointment. 

The State Department stepped directly into the Cuban crisis. In a 
series of dramatic moves, Washington chose to publicize selected diplo- 


matic notes as the means through which to outline its position in regard to 
the Cuban political crisis. In a series of public notes transmitted to Cuba 
through the Legation, the United States mounted a major effort to estab- 
lish the Conservatives on firm ground nationally. In principle, Secretary 
of State Robert Lansing sought to reiterate Washington's opposition to all 
government founded on force and revolution. 26 More specifically, the 
State Department condemned the Cuban insurrection directly. On Febru- 
ary 13, Lansing expressed "the greatest apprehension" over the news of 
the revolt in Cuba. 27 In a second note five days later, the State Depart- 
ment reiterated in some detail its support of the Menocal government 
and repeated its view of the insurgency. Denouncing the revolt as 
"Lawless and unconstitutional," Washington pledged to "give careful 
consideration to its future attitude towards those persons connected with 
and concerned in" the Liberal uprising. 28 

The American notes immediately had a far-reaching effect. Many 
Liberals who earlier had delayed their decision to join the Party leadership 
in the field now abandoned altogether plans to support the movement. 
Publicity of American support of Menocal, moreover, contributed to 
arresting the deterioration of the government's position nationally. A 
considerable number of insurgent chieftains in the field, convinced now 
that the American position ended the movement's only hope of success, 
surrendered to government authorities. Other Liberal leaders weighed 
personal political aspirations in the future against reprisals to the partici- 
pants; for given the nature of the United States controls over the Cuban 
national system, few political leaders in the field, thinking into the future, 
could receive such a warning without pausing to re-examine the wisdom 
of their position in 1917. Many yielded to the future. Two days later, 
members of the Liberal congressional delegation caucused and declared 
themselves "pacifists." 29 In perhaps the most demoralizing defection of 
all, presidential candidate Zayas disassociated himself from the rebel 
leadership and surrendered to authorities. 

By late February, American policy had contained the political threat 
to the Menocal government. Publication of the February 13 note, the 
Legation reported two days later, had had a "beneficial effect in abating 
(the] ardor of [ the] revolutionary party." 30 With the publication of the 
second note on February 18, the Legation expressed confidence that 
Havana could "completely dominate" the political situation in a matter 
of weeks. 31 

The electoral events of 1916 and the insurrection of 1917 further 
institutionalized the presence of the United States in island politics. The 
insertion of the Piatt Amendment onto the center stage of Cuban 
national processes, together with a developing understanding in Cuba of 
American policy introduced an unsettling influence into the island. The 
institutionalized presence of the spectre of intervention often made 
intervention inevitable. Indeed, intervention was as much a cause of 


instability as it was the result. A political culture emerged in Cuba, organ- 
ized around Havana's understanding of the requirements of American 
policy in which national authorities were held accountable to legitimizing 
agencies abroad. Under the Piatt Amendment, Washington emerged as 
the center of Cuban politics; increasingly, the Cuban political drama was 
played for the benefit of an American audience. 

The American presence loomed over the polity, seized by all power 
contenders seeking advantage over national rivals. Fierce internal rival- 
ries and intra-elite struggles for national hegemony provided the bases for 
the collaboration between Cuba and the United States; political rivals in 
search of advantage served as active and faithful collaborators of the 
interventionist power. Insofar as the United States served as the focal 
point around which Cubans organized a political universe, American 
policy came to be something of a pawn pushed by all power contenders. 
United States intervention became a threat wielded more frequently — 
and with greater skill — by Cuban politicos against one another than a 
diplomatic device employed by Americans in pursuit of policy objective. 

A distinct logic came to characterize the reciprocal behavior of 
Cubans and Americans. Cubans accepted not only the reality of United 
States hegemony but legitimized American pre-eminence through com- 
plicity and cooperation and, whenever possible and expedient, manipu- 
lated American pre-eminence to their advantage. Cuban collaboration 
was at once the necessary cause and the inevitable effect of United States 
hegemony; the interventors and the intervened together underwrote the 
viability of the client state. 


1 "Record of Sessions of the Constitutional Convention of the Island of Cuba," 
(7 vols.. Unpublished Manuscript, Bureau of Insular Affairs Library, National 
Archives, Washington, D.C., 1901), III. Cf. Julio Villoldo, "Las reelecciones," 
Cuba Contempordnea, (Marzo, 1916), 237-252. 

2 Jose Manuel Cortina, La reeleccion presidenciaULa Habana, 1916), pp. 36, 41. 

3 Mario Guiral Moreno. "El problema de la burocracia en Cuba," Cuba Contem- 
pordnea. 2 ( Agosto, 1913), 257-267 and Miguel de Carrion, "El desenvolvimiento 
social de Cuba en los ultimos veinte atios," Cuba Contempordnea, 27 (Septi- 
embre, 1921). 

4 Enrique Collazo, La revolucion de agosto de 1906 (La Habana, 1907), pp. 12-13. 

5 See William Howard Taft and Robert Bacon, "Cuban Pacification: Report of 
William H. Taft, Secretary of State, and Robert Bacon, Assistant Secretary of 
State, of "What Was Done Under the Instructions of the President in Restoring 
Peace in Cuba," Appendix E, Report of the Secretary of War. 1906. 59th Con- 
gress, 2nd Session, House Document No. 2, Series 5105 (Washington, D.C., 1906). 

6 For the menocalista position on re-election see Recardo Dolz y Arango, El 
proceso electoral de 1916 (La Habana, 1917), pp. 5-7. 

7 United States Congress, Statutes at Large (1903-1905) (Washington, D.C., 
1905), p. 2249. 


8 See Enrique Jose Varona, De la colonia a la Republica (La Habana, 1919), pp. 

9 In acknowledging United States support after the outbreak of the Liberal revolt 
in February, 1917, Menocal revealed his understanding of American policy: 
"President Wilson's attitude has been no less gratifying, because his well-known 
policy during the last four years with respect to Governments which are the 
product of revolutions had led us to expect what it would be in this particular 
case." New York Times (February 22, 1917), 9. 

10 Orestes Ferrara, "Las elecciones de Cuba y el gobierno de Washington," La 
Reforma Social. 18 (Octubre, 1920), 125-131. 

11 George Bayliss, American Consular Agent, Antilla, to Frederick Herron, 
October9, 1916, File (1916) 710, Miscellaneous Correspondence, American Con- 
sulate, Santiago de Cuba, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department 
of State, Record Group 84, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

12 "La guerrita de febrero de 1917," Boletin del Arehivo Nacional (Havana), 61 
(Enero-Diciembre de 1962), 208-212. 

13 One Cuban historian suggests that the Administration's decision to intervene 
in the tabulation process occurred only after Menocal was reasonably certain 
that Wilson would win re-election in the United States. See Rafael Rodriguez 
Altunaga, El General Emilio Nunez (La Habana, 1958), pp. 214-215. 

14 For a detailed chronicle of election irregularities see "Brief Synopsis of Cuba's 
Present Internal Politics," October, 1919, File 1249, Material on Cuba, Enoch H. 
Crowder Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Mis- 
souri, Columbia, Missouri. 

15 Alfredo Zayas, "A Statement on the Elections in Cuba, Held November 1, 
1916," 837.00/1253, Department of State, General Records, Record Group 59, 
National Archives, Washington, D.C. (Hereinafter cited as DS/NA, RG 59). 
Returns tabulated up to and including November 2 gave Conservatives 184,680 
votes to the Liberals' 188,994. "La guerrita de febrero de 1917," p. 207. William E. 
Gonzales to Secretary of State, November 21 , 1916, 837.00/1047, DS/NA, RG 59. 

16 William E. Gonzales to Secretary of State, January 22, 1917, 837.00/1056, 
DS/NA, RG 59. Days after the Supreme Court decision, Minister William E. Gon- 
zales found Menocal "bitter against the Supreme Court," having a "mental atti- 
tude" leading the American envoy to fear that the Conservative President could 
not be restrained from using every means possible to overcome the Liberal major- 
ity in Las Villas. "This means," Gonzales wrote, "employment of force, killing of 
Liberal managers at the polls and declaration of palpably fictitious results." Ibid. 

17 P. Merrill Griffith to Secretary of State, January 29, 1917, 837.00/1061, DS/NA, 
RG 59. 

18 H. K. Hewitt, Commanding Officer, "USS Eagle," to Secretary of the Navy, 
837.00/1270, DS/NA, RG 59. 

19 Leon Primelles, Cronica cubana. 19 15- 19 18 (La Habana, 1955), p. 239. P. Mer- 
rill Griffith to Secretary of State, January 29, 1917, 837.00/1061, DS/NA, RG 59. 

20 Primelles, Cronica cubana. 19 IS- 19 18. 243. 

21 William E. Gonzales to Frank L. Polk, February 4, 1919, Drawer 77, File 243, 
Frank L. Polk Papers, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University, New Haven, 

22 Carlos Guas, "?Quien ordeno el levantamiento de febrero?" El Mundo (junio 
17, 1919), 16. 

23 Horacio Ferrer, Con el rifle at hombro (La Habana, 1950), p. 221. 

24 Ibid. p. 246. 


25 See Mario G. Menocal to Woodrow Wilson, March 5, 1917, Series 2, Box 158, 
Woodrow Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, 
D.C., and William E. Gonzales to Secretary of State, Department of State, For- 
eign Relations of the United States: /9/7(Washington, D.C., 1928), p. 355 (Here- 
inafter cited as FRUS). 

26 Robert Lansing to William G. McAdoo, February 17, 1917, Vol. 24. Robert 
Lansing Papers, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C. 

27 Robert Lansing to William E. Gonzales, February 13, 1917, FRUS, p. 356. 

28 Robert Lansing to William E. Gonzales, February 18, 1917. FRUS. p. 363. 

29 "La guerrita de febrero de 1917," 232. 

30 William E. Gonzales to Robert Lansing, February 15, 1917, 837.00/1085, 
DS/NA, RG 59. 

31 James L. Rodgers, Consul General, to Secretary of State, February 19, 1917, 
837.00/1107. DS/NA, RG 59. 






By Frank Gerome 

After Panama's independence in 1903, political unrest developed 
with each election as competing factions jockeyed for power; at times the 
turbulence resulted in violence which threatened to endanger the con- 
struction of the Panama Canal and U.S. interests there. Political candi- 
dates and their parties often turned to the United States for assistance. 1 
This occurred in the elections of 1908 when the leaders of both the Con- 
servative and Liberal parties requested U.S. supervision of the elections. 
William Howard Taft, as Secretary of War under President Roosevelt, 
was involved in this effort before embarking on his own presidential cam- 
paign. On the eve of the elections in Panama, supporters of the incumbent 
administration complained bitterly of U.S. interference and boycotted 
the polls; consequently, Jose Domingo de Obaldia won, but in his 
inaugural address he denied having requested U.S. aid. 2 After Taft be- 
came President, both he and Secretary of State, Philander Knox, were 
well aware of the difficulty of attempting to influence political develop- 
ments and maintaining peace and stability in Panama, but with the con- 
struction of the canal approaching its final stages that goal remained the 
administration's primary objective in Latin America. 3 

Opposition to Obaldia's administration erupted in early 1910 as 
Panama prepared to elect deputies to the National Assembly. Carlos A. 
Mendoza, the second "designado" (one of the three vice-presidents) and 
Belissario Porras, a popular Liberal figure and the minister to Costa Rica, 
led the attack. 4 Obaldia hoped to remain in office and argued that only 
he could hold a Conservative-Liberal coalition together and prevent the 
election of these "dangerous liberals." 5 Political expectations for the 
opposition changed abruptly when Obaldia suffered a heart attack 6 and 
died on March 1 ; thus, Mendoza succeeded to the Presidency to complete 
the two years remaining of the deceased president's term. 

The U.S. Charge d'affaires, George T. Weitzel, expressed deep con- 
cern because executive power had passed to the liberal branch of the 
coalition party. Weitzel also questioned the legality of Mendoza's succes- 
sion because he had taken the oath of office before the President of the 
Supreme Court rather than the President of the National Assembly as 
provided in the Panamanian Constitution. 7 Several days after Mendoza 
assumed office, Weitzel sent reports predicting a grim future for U.S.- 
Panamanian relations and declared that the new President, a mulatto, 
had a "racial inability" to refrain from abusing power. Weitzel warned 


that Mendoza would quickly be able to strengthen his political support, 
gain control of the National Assembly and, once elected, prove "extremely 
unsatisfactory" to the better classes of Panamanians and "decidedly ob- 
jectionable" to Americans. Mendoza's popularity, he noted, was based on 
the assumption that he would protect Panamanians against the Yankees. 8 

Throughout the spring and summer of 1910 conservative opposition 
to Mendoza increased. Publicly, many argued that he was not constitu- 
tionally able to run for President since he already occupied that office. 9 
But a greater source of fear and tension — not discussed so openly — were 
the racial factors which Weitzel had noted. The U.S. Minister, R. S. Rey- 
nolds Hitt, also commented on this and predicted that if the United States 
took no action, Mendoza would be elected. 10 He also pointed out that all 
political groups in Panama were aware that the wishes of the United 
States must be observed and that no leader or party would be strong 
enough to resist them. Aware of this, Mendoza appealed directly to Presi- 
dent Taft and informed him that conditions in Panama were peaceful and 
that elections would take place fairly and honestly." 

When the National Assembly elections occurred on July 1, Liberal 
delegates won a substantial majority which assured Mendoza's election 
in September. 12 This prompted the newly appointed U.S. Charge d'affaires, 
R. O. Marsh, to launch a vigorous campaign to persuade Washington to 
bloc Mendoza's election. That could be prevented he declared, if the 
United States simply suggested that such procedures were unconstitu- 
tional and that Article 136 of Panama's constitution recognized the right 
of U.S. intervention to establish order. He too expressed concern about 
Mendoza's popularity with blacks who were "ignorant, and irresponsible, 
unable to meet the serious obligations of citizenship in a Republic." 13 
Both Marsh and Hitt pointed out that all Caucasians in Panama (foreigners 
as well as natives) hesitated to have social contacts with Mendoza and his 
wife because of their race (she was a full-bloodied black). Hitt explained 
that many Panamanians believed this hampered business transactions 
and diminished the reputation of Panama abroad, and were anxious that 
their nation be considered a "white man's country and not a nigger 
country." Mendoza's election, he added, would have a negative effect on 
U.S. activities through Central America where the white power structure 
would assume that American influence meant the encouragement of 
Negroes in office; they would more vigorously combat the influence of 
the United States. 

On August 5, 1910, Marsh reported that he had just had a long con- 
ference with Col. Goethals who also agreed that the interests of the canal 
project, American influence, and of Panama all demand that Mendoza 
should not be reelected; he again urged officials in Washington to pre- 
vent that from happening. 14 

As the time for the election approached and officials in Washington 
failed to comply with the suggestions emanating from the legation in 


Panama, Marsh intensified his attack on Mendoza; he compared him to 
a potential Zelaya or Cabrera and warned that he was a "grave menace to 
Panama and American influence." Marsh added that Mendoza led an 
immoral private life which was evident by his open support of two mis- 
tresses and numerous illegitimate children. 15 

Naturally, rumors that the United States opposed Mendoza's election 
quickly spread throughout Panama. This prompted the Acting President 
to send a representative to discuss this with Marsh who told him that 
Mendoza said he would comply if Marsh refrained from issuing a public 
protest against him or opposing his appointment as Secretary of Interior 
and Finance, a position he had held previously. "I replied that I thought 
this would be highly satisfactorily," explained Marsh, "and have arranged 
a conference between Mendoza, Col. Goethals, and myself for tomorrow 
afternoon." If his actions were approved, he added, "Mendoza would 
resign and bloodshed in Panama would be avoided." I6 Throughout these 
maneuvers, Mendoza was uncertain whether or not Marsh's attitude 
toward him reflected the opinion of the Department of State but his 
doubts were removed when Huntington Wilson, the Assistant Secretary, 
informed Marsh on August 24 that he concurred with his views and in- 
structed him to notify Mendoza of this. The effect was immediate; Men- 
doza withdrew as a candidate which left the National Assembly with two 
leading contenders: Samuel Lewis who was pro-American and had 
Marsh's enthusiastic support and Belissario Porras who, according to 
Marsh, meant more trouble for the United States. Then Marsh exerted 
further pressure to influence political developments by urging Mendoza 
to pledge his support to Lewis.' 7 This latter action provoked Huntington 
Wilson who believed Marsh had exceeded his instructions; he repri- 
manded him for his excessive meddling in Panamanian politics and in- 
structed him as follows: 

The Department fully appreciates your good work in a difficult 
situation but you must not nullify it by sowing the seeds of hos- 
tility on the part of Mendoza's following or antagonizing Porras 
who is quite likely to be President two years hence if not now, 
who, when lately in Washington seemed not unfriendly and who, 
with skillful handling should be made thoroughly friendly to the 
United States. 18 

Marsh was disturbed and pointed out that the Department had mis- 
understood his actions which did not include unnecessary interference 
in local politics. He explained that he had been overworked in recent 
weeks, that he had kept in constant touch with Col. Goethals, and that 
the blacks were responsible for the rumors which criticized him and cir- 
culated widely in Panama. He added that U.S. business interests there 
had been "subjected to constant persecution" during the pastyear and 
believed that the present Liberal control of the government should be 
weakened or the business interests would be forced to appeal directly to 


Washington for assistance. The Charge also mentioned that canal zone 
authorities were disturbed and that many people,' including the "respect- 
able element" of Panama, believed that Mendoza's election would pre- 
cipitate American occupation. In an effort to soothe Marsh's feelings, 
Huntington Wilson assured him that while his actions were generally 
approved, the Department simply hoped that both he and Goethals 
would "exercise the greatest tact, conciliation and circumspection. . . ," 19 
President Taft was completely unaware of the controversy Marsh 
had created in Panama. On September 7 when Huntington Wilson asked 
him to approve the Charge's actions and announce that they reflected the 
U.S. official view, Taft responded: "I am wholly uninformed as to the 
Panama matter. What is it that Marsh has been doing down there and 
under whose direction has he been acting?" 20 The following day, Hunt- 
ington Wilson sent him a summary of politcal conditions there along with 
the Department's pertinent dispatches. Then, on the same day, he in- 
formed Marsh that the United States had no preferences among the 
candidates in Panama's election. 21 His sudden neutrality was undoubt- 
edly prompted by Taft's belief that Marsh's involvement had seriously 
aggravated Panama's political problems and increased hostility toward 
the United States. Taft had recently received a letter signed by twenty- 
one delegates of the Panamanian National Assembly who complained of 
Marsh's actions and stated that the Charge had informed newspapermen 
that the United States would occupy and annex Panama unless the dele- 
gates selected the "right" candidates \i.e., Lewis] to succeed Mendoza. 22 
Naturally this provoked an uproar in Panama. After reading some of the 
dispatches from Panama, Taft concluded that Marsh had been "over- 
zealous" and that the Charge had "grossly misrepresented" the attitude 
of the United States. 23 Taft firmly believed that the United States should 
not become involved in influencing the selection of the candidate or 
party in Panama's election and was certainly not threatening annexation. 24 
He finally concluded that Marsh was "utterly unfit to represent us there" 
and revealed his thoughts on U.S. influence and Panamanian politics in 
a letter to Huntington Wilson: 

( Marsh ] evidently thinks that it is his business to elect some par- 
ticular person and he accepts every story and every criticism of a 
liberal that can be suggested and would give the impression that 
chaos is to follow the election of any liberal. We have such control 
in Panama that no Government elected by them will feel a desire 
to antagonize the American Government. I am particularly anx- 
ious to avoid the charge of undue meddling because of its effect 
in Central America and South America. The tone of Marsh's 
dispatches shows that he is fresh and insubordinate. 25 
Marsh was soon recalled and a new minister, Thomas C. Dawson, was 
temporarily assigned to Panama. Meanwhile, the National Assembly had 


unanimously elected Pablo Arosemena first Vice President to succeed 
Mendoza when his term expired at the end of the month. 26 

In his inaugural address of October 5, 1910, Arosemena spoke of the 
unusual ties between Panama and the United States and announced that 
under no circumstances would he be a candidate for re-election in 1912. 27 

Taft visited Panama in November 1910 to inspect the progress of the 
canal. Unfortunately his four day tour of the Isthmus renewed rumors 
of annexation despite his repeated denials. 28 He was encouraged with the 
progress he saw and predicted the canal would open earlier than the 
anticipated date of January I, 1915. He expressed hope that political 
unrest would not flare up again and create disturbances which might 
threaten that progress. 29 

But the parade of rival Panamanian political factions coming to 
Washington, attempting to cultivate support for the 1912 presidential 
elections, was soon under way and there were signs that tranquility there 
would be difficult to achieve. 30 On June 2, 1911 Carlos Arosemena, the 
nephew of the President, was in Washington and declared that his uncle 
had "reluctantly consented" to be a candidate for re-election and hoped 
for U.S. support. 31 Taft explained that while the United States had inter- 
fered in 1908 to help guarantee a fair election, there would be no effort 
to influence the selection of any particular person as President in the 
forthcoming election. He told Arosemena that the U.S. would have no 
objection to the re-election of his uncle but would not indicate a 
preference. 32 

With the canal nearing completion and partisan politics gearing up 
again, the State Department attempted to strengthen and improve the 
effectiveness of the U.S. legation in Panama by appointing an experienced 
diplomat, H. Percival Dodge, as minister. 33 Shortly after Dodge arrived 
in Panama, Ricardo Arias and Santiago de la Guardia began the familiar 
game of cultivating his support. 34 Both men were disappointed when 
Dodge explained that the United States would not endorse any candidate. 
The new minister expressed surprise that so much attention and specula- 
tion focused on the presidential elections "notwithstanding their compar- 
ative remoteness." 35 

Political tensions in Panama erupted into open violence and street 
fighting in December 1911. The disturbance involved approximately one 
thousand participants and caused some observers to believe that the 
nation was on the verge of revolution. Dodge was especially concerned 
that the violence would escalate and injure or kill U.S. citizens. 36 The 
unrest provided Arosemena with an opportunity to intensify his efforts 
to obtain U.S. intervention in order to prevent a possible Liberal victory. 
The Panamanian Attorney General urged Taft to intervene ". . . in favor 
of this country to which both you and Mr. Roosevelt have given life." 37 

Arosemena began to dismiss office-holders whose loyalty to him was 
questioned. Political removals were most evident in the police force 


which soon became filled with supporters of the administration. Accord- 
ing to Dodge, Arosemena and his party, Union Patriotica, had a narrow 
base of support; he predicted that if the elections were honestly conducted, 
the Liberal Party's candidate would be overwhelmingly elected. 38 On 
February 12, 1912, the Liberal Party held its convention and selected 
Belissario Porras for its presidential candidate. 

In Washington, Minister Arias intensified his efforts to persuade the 
administration to indicate a preference toward Pedro Diaz, the newly 
designated candidate of Union Patriotica which formed a coalition of 
Conservatives and Liberals who had earlier supported Pablo Arosemena. 
Obviously annoyed, the Assistant Secretary of State declared: "[Arias] is 
asking for another interview and it is my intention to tell him once and for 
all that this Government sees no occasion at present which would justify 
it in expressing itself on the subject. . . " Taft also refused to alter his 
position. His secretary noted: "He does not wish to interfere in Panama 
as he feels they must work out their own salvation." 39 In response to a 
letter Arias had written requesting U.S. assistance, Taft explained: 
It is more responsibility than we can afford to assume. What we 
would do would be misunderstood, and we must see whether 
matters can work themselves out for the benefit of the people of 
Panama without our intervention. Of course I can conceived that 
the time might come when we must intervene, as we have done 
before, but nothing has yet been brought to may attention indi- 
cating a case which would justify action on our part. 40 
The President's attitude changed in May when the electoral contest 
became increasingly bitter and violence erupted again between Porristas 
and the followers of Union Patriotica. By the time the Panamanian gov- 
ernment and both political parties had requested U.S. intervention to 
supervise the elections. The Liberals were fully aware that it was their 
only hope of a possible victory. Minister Dodge recommended U.S. sup- 
ervision as "the only way of avoiding serious disturbances and securing 
fair elections." When Huntington Wilson informed Taft of this volatile 
atmosphere in Panama and urged that the U.S. supervise the elections, 
the President quickly agreed to undertake that responsibility again. 41 
Dodge was appointed Chairman of the supervisory committee which 
included representatives of the Panamanian government and both political 
parties. During the committee's initial meeting at the American legation 
he made clear that the United States had no preference among the can- 
didates—the sole purpose of the supervision was to guarantee that the 
constitution was observed and that law and order prevailed. The com- 
mittee agreed to extend the voter registration period from May 15 to the 
31st and immediately began to direct that process. The Panama Star and 
Herald praised the committee's effective work during the registration 
period and predicted that the elections would occur "without coercion, 
fraud, or disorder." 42 


But there were many who did not share this optimism and complaints 
were brought to the attention of the supervisors even before election day. 
Porristas declared that registration lists had been "doctored" and police 
brutality was widespread. There were also rumors that the Panamanian 
government resented the presence of the supervisors and intended to 
provoke disturbances in order to bring about U.S. military occupation 
which might prevent Porras' election. Rumors of assassination plots cir- 
culated widely. 43 

When Liberal candidates won by a large majority in the municipal 
elections of June 30, Diaz supporters blamed the supervisors and regis- 
tered protests in ten election districts. 44 Porristas pointed out the admin- 
istration's efforts to prevent them from voting by widespread intimidation 
and arrests of their leaders. In many districts, the supervisors noted the 
lack of cooperation by the police and other local authorities. 45 When the 
supervisors had urged local officials to disarm policemen on the day of 
the election, the Panamanian government became deeply disturbed. 
Minister Arias discussed this at a conference at the White House and 
declared that such action was humiliating and created the impression 
that the supervisors favored the Porristas. He also stated that Porristas 
had padded the registration lists which would be used in both municipal 
and national elections. William T. S. Doyle, a key member of the State 
Department's Latin American Division who attended the conference, 
suggested that the impartiality of the supervisors had been demonstrated 
by the fact that both Panamanian political parties had complaints. 46 

After the Liberal's victory in the municipal elections, which Arias 
claimed was won by fraud, he repeatedly visited the State Department in 
an effort to gain U.S. support for a plan to postpone the national 
elections. Huntington Wilson was unsympathetic and believed that Dodge 
and the supervisors had conducted themselves with impartiality; he in- 
formed Arias that a postponement of the election was illegal. 47 Arias 
complained that just a few months earlier, Diaz' election looked virtually 
certain because of the enthusiasm with which he had been received 
during his electoral campaign. He declared: "All this unhappily has been 
destroyed by the actions of Minister Dodge." 48 It was impossible to 
please everyone. 

Faced with defeat and after reaching the conclusion that it was not in 
their interest to have a fair election, followers of Union Patriotica with- 
drew their candidate and urged their supporters to abstain from voting. 
Consequently, the elections occurred with few disturbances and Belis- 
sario Porras won overwhelmingly. Dodge reported that they were the 
fairest the nation had ever experienced. The Panama Morning Journal 
praised the impartiality and effective work of the minister and the super- 
visory committee and claimed that the majority of Panamanians shared 
these views. The Panama Star and Herald concurred and argued that the 


substantial Liberal victory indicated that the election had not been 
fraudulent. 49 

In contrast to these reports, bitter resentment toward the U.S. super- 
vision of the elections and Americans in general erupted on the night of 
July 4th in the Cocoa Grove section of Panama. Several hundred U.S. 
soliders celebrating the holiday there clashed with Panamanian police 
who killed one and wounded nineteen others. In an effort to place the 
blame for the tragedy, accusations poured forth from various quarters. 
Some argued that drunken U.S. soliders initiated the incident. Others 
claimed it was caused by the over-reaction of the Panamanian police. 
Members of Union Patriotica argued that the soliders and the U.S. gov- 
ernment were responsible because of the "unfair" election supervision 
which had inflamed the population. Porristas pointed out that the police 
were angry with Americans and resented the intereference of the super- 
visors; they viewed the outbursts as another incident instigated by Union 
Patriotica whose aim was to force the U.S. to intervene and annual the 
elections. The controversy surrounding the Cocoa Grove disturbance 
created addmitional tensions and diplomatic problems between the two 
nations during the remaining months of Taft's administration and con- 
tinued into the succeeding one. 50 

In response to the anti-American sentiment which prevailed in 
Panama toward the end of Taft's administration, a New York Times edi- 
torial made the following observation: 

. . . they fret under a peace and prosperity at once alien and 
compulsory. Who wouldn't. Of course, they are unwise to let their 
irritation betray them into hopeless resistance, but there is 
nothing peculiar in their ingratitude \sic\ for unwanted favors; 
that is not Panamese [sic] or Central American; it is only human. 51 
Taft's experience with Panama revealed some of the problems of attempt- 
ing to influence political developments in Panama; it would be virtually 
impossible to do without incurring hostility and resentment. 

Belissario Porras, of course, was grateful for the American super- 
vision which enabled him to win the election; he informed Dodge that he 
would appoint a minister for Foreign Affairs who would be a "special 
friend" of the United States and that with American assistance, he in- 
tended to enact sweeping reforms in the police force. 52 His inauguration 
occurred on October 1, 1912; a month later Taft became a lame-duck 
President and prepared to turn over the frustrating responsibilities of 
maintaining "peace" in Panama and the opening of the canal to a new 



1 See G. A. Mellander, The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing 
Years (The Interstate Printers & Publishers, Danville, 111., 1971) for an account of 
U.S. involvement in Panamanian politics from 1903 through the 1908 elections. 
See also William McCain, The U.S. and the Republic of Panama (Durham: Duke 
University Press, 1937); and the memorandum prepared by U.S. Minister to 
Panama, R.S.R. Hitt, August 12, 1910, 819.00/297. U.S. Department of State, 
Records of the Department of State Relating to the Internal Affairs of Panama, 
1910-1929, Microcopy No. 607. Unless otherwise noted, documents in this study 
are from these records and are hereafter cited solely by the decimal number. 

2 George T. Weitzel, U.S. Charge d'Affaires, to SecState, October 2, 1908, 
847/152; Mellander, The United States in Panamanian Politics 185-186. 

3 See Taft's address to Congress, U.S. Foreign Relations. 1912, p. xii; and Secre- 
tary Knox's commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania, June 15, 
1910, entitled "The Spirit and Purpose of American Diplomacy," Knox Papers, 
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Box #4; and his address before the 
New York State Bar Association on January 19, 1912, "The Monroe Doctrine and 
Some Incidental Obligations in the Zone of the Caribbean." A good general 
account of the administration's Latin American policy is contained in Walter V. 
and Marie V. Scholes, The Foreign Policies of the Taft Administration (Univer- 
sity of Missouri Press, 1970). 

4 Weitzel to SecState, February 28, 1910, 819.00/228; and March 19, 1910, 
819.00/233. Weitzel reported that Porras was an active candidate for the Presi- 
dency and that Porras had told one of his friends that the reason he was going to 
visit Washington was not to settle the Costa Rican boundary dispute but to reveal 
to officials there that he was a Caucasian and not a Negro as many generally 
believed. Weitzel stated that Samuel Lewis, a member of the conservative branch 
of the Coalition Party was probably the best qualified for the presidency but had 
little support; the Attorney General, Santiago de la Guardia, was another able 
candidate but he was not popular with the voters. 

5 Ibid. 

6 Weitzel to SecState, March 4, 1910, 819.00/25; March 19, 1910, 819.00/233; 
Thomas Dawson, Division of Latin American Affairs, memorandum to Francis 
M. Huntington Wilson, Assistant Secretary of State, March 4, 1910, 819.00/225. 

8 Weitzel to SecState, March 3, 1910, 819.00/230. Weitzel observed: "At present 
it suits him [Mendoza's) purpose to appear retiring and conciliatory until he can 
get his bearings after the sudden shock which has made him Chief Executive, and 
estimate the force of sentiment for and against him both in Panama and the 
United States." 

9 La Palabra, May 21, 1910. This paper, whose Director was Eduardo Chiari, 
claimed that Mendoza was using funds from the national treasury to travel and 
campaign throughout the country. Ricardo Arias and Santiago de la Guardia 
were among the prominent conservative leaders. See also dispatch of R. S. Rey- 
nolds Hitt to Secretary of State, June 11, 1910, 819.00/236. 

10 Hitt to SecState, June 11, 1910, 819.00/236. 

11 Mendoza to Taft, June 14, 1910, enclosed in Charles D. Norton, Secretary to 
the President to Knox, July 2, 1910, 819.00/242; Taft to Mendoza, July 20, 1910, 
enclosed in Alvey A. Adee, Acting Secretary of State, to Marsh, August 2, 1910, 

12 Marsh to SecState, July 28, 1910, 819.00/240. The Liberal Party won 20 of the 


28 seats in the National Assembly. Supporters of the Conservative Party, led by 
Ricardo Arias and Santiago de la Guardia, abstained from voting. 

13 Marsh to SecState, July 28, 1910, 819.00/240; August 10, 1910, 819.00/247. The 
Charge reported that Negroes regarded the racial issue as the most important 
question in the forthcoming elections. Articles in El Duende (August 7, 1910), a 
Negro paper, emphasized racial equality and urged Negroes to unite in supporting 
Mendoza against the white population. "This appeal to racial equality and Negro 
solidarity," Marsh noted, "is already having an unfortunate effect on the country 
as evidenced by a recent great increase in petty conflicts between the two races." 
And Hitt's Memorandum of August 12, 1910, 819.00/297. 

14 Marsh to SecState, August 5, 1910, 819.00/241. De la Guardia explained to 
Secretary Knox that Mendoza was violating the constitution by engaging in the 
practice of continuismo; de la Guardia requested U.S. intervention to prevent 
Mendoza's election or by not recognizing him if elected. De la Guardia to Knox, 
August 4, 1910, 819.00/244. 

15 Marsh to SecState, August 15, 1910, 819.00/253; and August 17, 1910, 819.00/248. 

16 Marsh to SecState, August 20, 1910, 819.00/251; and Marsh to Huntington Wil- 
son, the Assistant Secretary of State, August 22, 1910. 

17 Marsh to SecState, August 26, 1910, 819.00/255 and /256; August 29, 1910, 
819.00/258; August 30, 1910, 819.00/259. 

18 Huntington Wilson to Marsh, September 1, 1910, 819.00/259. 

19 Marsh to SecState, September 2, 1910, 819.00/265; Huntington Wilson to 
American Legation, September 3, 1910, 819.00/265. 

20 Huntington Wilson to Taft (in Beverly, Mass.) and Taft to Huntington Wilson, 
September 7, 1910, 819.00/275. 

21 Huntington Wilson to Taft, September 8, 1910, 819.00/284A; Huntington Wil- 
son to AmLegation, Panama, September 8, 1910, 819.00/268A. 

22 Letter from twenty-one members of the Panamanian National Assembly to 
Taft, September 9, 1910, 819.00/271. Marsh's enthusiasm for Lewis was well- 
known. He viewed Lewis as the best man to help establish comparatively honest 
governmental reforms and to uphold U.S. prestige. Marsh wrote: ". . . if such inti- 
mation [of support] is given by the Washington authorities as was given two years 
ago, he can still be elected." Marsh to SecState, September 9, 1910, 819.00/270; 
and September 10, 1910, 819.00/272. On September 12th Marsh wrote: "If it is 
necessary for your dignity to publicly reprimand or discharge me for bungling or 
discretion I will take my medicine quietly but for the prestige of the Department 
and to prevent untold persecution and insult to Americans in Panama which will 
inevitably follow a Liberal victory under present conditions I implore my Govern- 
ment to insist on the election of Lewis." (819.00/274) 

23 Taft to Huntington Wilson, September 9, 1910, 819.00/285; and September 10, 
1910, 819.00/283. Taft believed that part of the problem in Panama was due to 
Marsh's "fussy meddling and loquacity." 

24 Ibid 

25 Taft to Huntington Wilson, September 12, 1910, 819.00/281. 

26 Taft to Mendoza, September 12, 1910, 819.00/279A; Marsh to SecState, Sep- 
tember 14, 1910, 819.00/284; Huntington Wilson to Taft, September 7, 1910, 
8 19.00/277 A; and The New York Times, September 14, 1910. 

27 Dawson to SecState, October 5, 1910, 819.00/307; The Panama Star and 
Herald, October 6, 1910. 

28 The New York Times, November 4 and 17, 1910; the U.S. Minister in Costa 
Rica reported that rumors of annexation circulated throughout Central America. 


U.S. Minister, San Jose, Costa Rica to SecState, November 10, 1910, 819.00/317. 

29 The New York Times, November 24, 1910. Taft also hoped to squelch the argu- 
ments of those who still claimed that a sea level canal was more feasible and 
cheaper to build than a system of locks. He declared that his visit confirmed the 
wise judgement of the engineers. 

30 Santiago de la Guardia and Ricardo Arias were especially active in their efforts 
to gain support from U.S. officials in Panama and Washington. See report of 
William Whiting Andrews, U.S. Charge d'affaires, May 17, 1911, 819.00/327. 
Whiting declared that he hoped their mission to the U.S. accomplished nothing 
because ". . . it is evidently intended to entangle the U.S. in partisan politics here." 
The visit of these men to Washington prompted leaders of the Liberal Party to 
register a protest with the American Legation in Panama. Andrews to SecState, 
June 7, 1911 ,819.00/335. Secretary Knox was confident that whoever was elected 
in Panama would respect treaty obligations with the United States. Knox to 
Andrews, July 11, 1911, 819.00/335. 

31 Taft to Knox, June 2 and 13, 191 1, 819.00/331 and 333. Huntington Wilson be- 
lieved that Arosemena was not constitutionally able to run for re-election and 
after Arosemena's conference with President Taft, wrote to Secretary Knox: 
". . . our old friend Carlos is again stepping over the Department to try to use the 
U.S. for his family's interests." Huntington Wilson to Knox, June 20, 1911, 

32 Taft to Knox, June 13, 1911, 819.00/333; Knox to Andrews, July 11, 1911, 

33 Alvey A. Adee to Dodge, October 27, 1911, 123 D66 /93a, Personnel Records, 
U.S. Department of State Decimal File, 1910-1929; Dodge to SecState, Novem- 
ber 19, 1911, 123 D66 /92, National Archives. 

34 Dodge to SecState, November 17, 1911, 819.00/347 and December 6, 1911, 

35 Dodge to SecState, December 29, 1911, 819.00/352. 

36 Dodge to SecState, December 12, 1911,819.00/350; and TheNew York Times, 
December 21 and 22, 1911. 

37 De la Guardia to Taft, December 27, 191 1, 819.00/361. He predicted that the 
nation would be ruined if it fell into the hands of the Liberals with their "barbaric 
passions" and pleaded that "all minds would recover calm by a simple word 
from your authorized lips." State Department Memorandum, January 2, 1912, 
819.00/352 and January 11, 1912, 819.00/355. 

38 Dodge to SecState, January 9 and January 25, 1912, Knox Papers, Box #33, 
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. "I hesitate to believe," Dodge observed, 
"that President Arosemena's election is necessary to preserve Panama from ruin." 

39 Huntington Wilson to Taft, March 21, 1912, 819.00/386a; Charles D. Hilles, 
Secretary to President Taft, to Secretary Knox, March 22, 1912, 819.00/380; and 
Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War to Ricardo Arias, April 4, 1912, 819.00/397. 

40 Arias asked Taft to ". . . help us correct our political imperfections " Arias 

to Taft, April 15, 1912, 819.00/397; Taft to Arias, April 18, 1912, 819.00/377. 

41 Dodge to SecState, March 18, 1912, 819.00/382; Dodge to SecState, April 25, 
1912, 819.00/387; /391; May 3, 1912, 819.00/389; and May 9, 1912, 819.00/393; 
Memorandum of the Latin American Division, May 7, 1912, 819.00/401; Hunt- 
ington Wilson to Taft, May 10, 1912, 819.00/396; and Huntington Wilson to 
AmLegation, Panama, May 13, 1912, 819.00/393; The New York Times, May 4 
and 5, 1912. Porras' elements appeared to have control of the registration boards 
of various municipalities while Union Patriotica had the support of the govern- 


ment which was in control of the officials and police units in the districts and 

42 A total of 228 supervisors for the various districts were drawn as follows: 50 
from the Isthmian Canal Commission; 50 from the Marine Battalion; and 128 
from the U.S. 10th Infantry Regiment. Dodge to SecState, May 18 and 20, 1912, 
819.00/400 and /405; Dodge to SecState, June 25, 1912, 819.00/422; and The 
Panama Star and Herald, June 16, 1912. 

43 Dodge to SecState, June 25, 1912, 819.00/422. During the municipal elections 
on June 30th some supervisors complained of problems with the local police in 
their districts. One supervisor at Los Santos stated that police officials circulated 
throughout the district intimidating the people from voting. Numerous other 
examples of police interference were cited. Dodge to SecState, July 1, 1912, 

44 Dodge to SecState, July 1 and 2, 1912, 819.00/427 and 418. 

45 Dodge to SecState, July 1, 1912, 819.00/427. 

46 For a summary of the White House Conference with Arias, Taft, Knox, and 
Doyle, see the latter's Memorandum of July 1, 1912, 819.00/420. 

47 Huntington Wilson, Memorandum to Latin American Division, July 8, 1912, 
819.00/425; and Huntington Wilson to Taft, July 8, 1912, 819.00/424. 

48 Ricardo Arias to Taft, July 9, 1912,819.00/428; Doyle's Memorandum, July 11, 
1912, 819.00/431; and Knox to AmLegation, Panama, July 11, 1912, 819.00/428. 

49 The Panama Star and Herald, July 14, 1912; Panama MorningJournal, July 14, 
1912; Dodge to SecState, July 14, 1912, 819.00/429 and /430; July 20, 1912, 

50 The Panama Starand Herald, July 16, 1912; The New York Times, July 6and8, 
1912; McCain, The U.S. and the Republic of Panama, pp. 81-82. 

51 The New York Times, July 8, 1912. The editorial reflected some interesting 
attitudes: "That this hostility should exist, as it certainly does, in spite of pretty 
sentiments so often expressed in the diplomatic circles of both the great and the 
little Republic, is from one point of view a proof of stupidity and ingratitude on 
the part of the Isthmian people. Not only do they owe the establishment of their 
government to the United States, but they are well aware that it would not last a 
week if they were left to defend themselves from angry Columbia, unreconciled 
to the loss of her most valuable national asset. They know tot) that the United 
States has given them prosperity as well as political safety, and that the amazing 
improvement in their conditions came from the same source." 

52 Dodge to SecState, July 27, 1912, 819.00/438; W. W. Andrews, Charge 
d'affaires ad interim, to SecState, October 8, 1912, 819.00/454. 



By Richard Millett 

From the time of his arrival in Mexico in 1873 until his death in 1918 
the Reverend Dr. John Wesley Butler played a major role in the estab- 
lishment and development of Methodism in Mexico. His father, William 
Butler, was the first director of the work of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in Mexico, so from his earliest years in the Republic John 
Wesley Butler had intimate connections with the leaders of that nation's 
tiny Protestant community as well as an established place within Mexico 
City's American colony. When John, himself, became director of Meth- 
odist Episcopal work in Mexico he expanded these contacts and estab- 
lished new ones in both Mexico and the United States. By 1910, on the 
eve of the Mexican Revolution, he was one of the best known, and 
undoubtedly most knowledgeable, members of the American community. 

Butler's activities in Mexico were not confined to preaching or to 
routine matters of administration. Under his direction Methodists oper- 
ated some of the best primary, secondary and vocational schools in 
Mexico. He also strove to expand Methodist publication activities 
within the Republic and to publicize the work of the mission in the 
United States. In furtherance of this latter goal he authored several 
books including History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mexico. ' 
It was not in Butler's published works, however, but in his voluminous 
and detailed correspondence in which he left us his most valuable con- 
tributions to an understanding of revolutionary Mexico. Butler's position 
within the Methodist church and his long residence in Mexico gave him 
considerable influence within the American community while his church 
work led him to travel constantly throughout the central area of Mexico 
and brought him into contact with Mexicans representing all varieties of 
social classes. His correspondence reflects this broad experience as well 
as providing insights into the attitudes and problems of American resi- 
dents in Mexico during the violent years of the Revolution. 

Living in Mexico City, John Wesley Butler shared the impression of 
most of the capital's inhabitants that the initial uprisings in favor of 
Madero were of little significance. On December 28, 1910, he wrote a 
minister in Nebraska that "The disturbance is nothing like what it is 
represented in the American papers, indeed I am expecting that the gov- 
ernment troops will soon be surrounding the rebels up in the state of 
Chihuahua and will give the whole movement its death blow." 2 A 
month later, however, he took the uprisings much more seriously. Writ- 
ing to the Methodist offices in New York he observed: 


While I still have a strong conviction that the government is 
master of the situation I am obliged to admit that matters look 
more serious today than at any time in the past. The revolu- 
tionists in the state of Chihuahua seem to be taking advanced 
ground and it evidently means one of two things. Either that 
they determined to risk all in the hope that if they could take 
Juarez and Chihuahua they might induce many who up to date 
have vacilated about joining them and thus acquire new strength 
or that their present move means that they have such strength 
as the public knows nothing of and that the present move is a 
signal for uprisings in other parts of the country. ... As I said in 
a previous letter, I think it would be well if the office would 
keep us supplied with remittances two or three months in ad- 
vance, with the understanding that we would only cash monthly. 
This would protect us in case the mails are disturbed. Some of 
our people are getting very uneasy. 3 

As director of Methodist work in Mexico, Butler felt keenly his 
responsibility for the safety of both American missionaries and national 
workers. The annual conference of the Methodist Church in Mexico 
was scheduled to meet in Orizaba, but by early February, 1911, the 
wisdom of a gathering that far from the national capital became increas- 
ingly questionable. Writing to an American missionary in Puebla, Butler 
noted that: 

It seems to be quite impossible here to obtain reliable news 
concerning the revolution. The rumors today, however, are 
very disquieting. 1 do not know what it may mean that the wires 
of the Veracruz Railroad were cut yesterday near Orizaba nor 
the reason why four rurales were killed near your city. ... I 
do not wish to disturb unduly your people, but it may be best 
for us to anticipate a little what we would do in case of some 
serious trouble. ... If it should become necessary for us to act 
it might be necessary to do so very quickly. In case of distur- 
bance it would be so much easier for us to meet in the capital 
probably and easier to get back from the capital, than to meet 
in and return from a place like Orizaba which depends entirely 
upon one line of railway. Then, should serious trouble break 
our own church has been with them. Pascual Orosco [sic], the 
railway, we might have the conference on our hands there for 
a week or ten days beyond the necessary time. 4 
As revolutionary disturbances continued to spread, Butler became 
increasingly concerned. Throughout February he continued to express 
his faith in the ultimate triumph of the forces of President Porfirio Diaz, 
but by March 1, 1911, this conviction was becoming quite shaky. He 
informed the New York office that: 


I should also say to you that the political situation today looks 
graver than it has for any time since the beginning of the revo- 
lutionary movement. We have been hoping that Mr. Limantour 
and General Reyes would come back from Europe to help sup- 
port the present administration, but at the present moment there 
is no reliable information about either of them coming in the 
near future. In the meantime, the unrest is certainly spreading 
and today there is a rumor of a persistent character that the 
National Railway is likely to be interrupted very soon. As you 
already know, of the three lines coming into Mexico, two of 
them have been out of commission for several days, for as soon 
as the government troops make repairs in one place the revolu- 
tionaries appear in another to burn or blow up bridges. . . . 
I am also informed that the officers of the National Railway 
have arranged to send their people out by Veracruz where 
they take steamer to New York in case the threatened inter- 
ruption takes place. As these people are in very close touch 
with the government I fear this means something serious. ... I 
will keep you informed just as fully as I can, though mails will 
be uncertain and longer in transition if we are obliged to send 
via Veracruz. In addition to this, it is persistently reported 
that there is a large band of insurgents in the State of Veracruz 
and if the government should fail to make the move we have 
all been looking for in the line of conciliation, the Veracruz 
Railway may also be cut and possibly we may be without any 
communication with you for some time. 5 

Reports of the disturbances in Mexico led many Methodists in the 
United States to write anxiously to Butler, expressing concern over his 
safety and seeking additional information as to the actual state of affairs. 
In his replies, Butler repeatedly expressed his unhappiness with exag- 
gerated accounts of uprisings published in the North American press 
and continued to support the government of General Diaz. He recog- 
nized, however, some of the faults in the existing administration. In 
March, 1911, Reverend Claudius Spencer of Kansas City sent a long list 
of questions regarding the causes and probable outcome of the revolu- 
tion, promising that he would keep confidential the source of any in- 
formation he might receive. Emphasizing the need for such confidentiality, 
Butler replied in a long and detailed letter which revealed some under- 
standing of the actual sources of discontent within Mexico, but which 
also illustrated both his strong support for the existing administration 
and his deep hostility to Roman Catholicism. In listing the causes of the 
revolution, Butler placed some blame upon ambitious politicians and 
concern over the advanced age (80) of President Diaz. The major prob- 
lem, however, he believed lay in the actions of state governors whom 
Diaz had kept in power and who had become "quite corrupt." These 


governors had, in turn, appointed "arbitrary and hard masters as Jefes 
Politicos" and these local officials "have oppressed the poor, wrung 
taxes unmercifully out of the people, forced many against their will into 
the army and committed other abuses." General Diaz was blamed for 
"having stood by some of these fellows too long," but Butler noted that 
several of the governors had been or were about to be removed, an 
action which he hoped would eliminate much of the cause for the 
revolt. 6 

The Reverend Mr. Spencer was concerned about the possibility of 
American intervention in Mexico, a fear based in part upon President 
Taft's decision to strengthen Army forces along the border. Butler de- 
fended the President's actions, writing Spencer that: 

The presence of a large American force along the frontier will 
be a great help to the administration; filibustering will cease as 
also the passing of arms and ammunition across the Rio Grande. 
In addition to that fact, there is no doubt that the presence of 
Uncle Sam's forces so near the Mexican territory is a pretty 
good tonic for the Mexican government. ... Of course, yellow 
papers here and in the United States are trying to make a great 
deal out of the presence of our Army in Texas; indeed many of 
them would be glad to force the hand of Taft as they did of 
McKinley to bring about war, but I believe the understanding 
between the two Governments is very clear and the relations 
most friendly and that there will be no war between the two 
countries. 7 

Spencer was also concerned about the affect of the revolution on 
Methodist work in Mexico. In responding to this concern, Butler's anti- 
Catholic attitudes became quite apparent. He wrote: 

I do not thus far see that our work be in any way affected by 
the outcome. Thus far our people and our properties have 
been unmolested. A few protestants here and there among the 
insurgents have been singled out by the clerical papers who 
have been inclined to make some capital out of their presence 
with the insurgents, but as far as I know no one connected with 
our own church has been with them. Pascual Orosco (sic), the 
principal General of the rebel army in the State of Chihuahua, 
is a protestant and was baptized in the Congregational Church 
in the capital of that state. . . . 

In case there should be a complete change in administration 
I do not think the administration would be unfavorable to our 
work. I believe the Roman hierarchy would be glad to see 
Mexico annexed to the United States. I do not believe that the 
rank and file of the clergy in this country share this wish, but 
the hierarchy knows right well that their church could have 


greater freedom under the laws of the United States than they 
now enjoy under the laws of Mexico, but this would be a ca- 
lamity for our people at home and our work here. 8 
As March progressed and faith in the Diaz administration's ability 
to control the situation declined, fears over possible American inter- 
vention became a prime concern of Butler's Writing to New York in 
March 27 he declared: 

The most serious problem we now face is the possibility of 
American intervention. I sincerely hope and am inclined to 
believe that this is not coming. I know a great many people 
here believe that we will have it shortly. I rather incline to think 
that the American Government will find some quiet and per- 
haps secret way to assist the government out of their present 
dilemma. However, intervention is, of course, among the pos- 
sibilities, but it would be a bad thing for us and our work. . . . 
The Superintendent of the Baptist Mission called to see me to 
talk about the matter and advisability of the Americans in his 
mission retiring from the country at once. Soon after one of 
the leading Presbyterian missionaries called to discuss the 

With all the light I have now, the thought of American mis- 
sionaries going to the States for safety does not seem to me to 
be right and unless I were advised most emphatically by the 
authorities or the representatives of the American Government 
to do so I should not think of it for one moment. The place of 
duty may not always seem to be the place of safety, but in this 
case it certainly is the place I should choose. However, I do not 
wish my personal feelings to stand in the way of the safety of 
American missionaries in our field. Including those of both 
societies and the children, there are 42 of us in the field. 

Now you know, as well as I, that Bishop Cranston is a diplomat 
and a statesman, who is well known and highly esteemed at 
headquarters. Could not you and he call upon President Taft 
and protest against American intervention. I happen to know 
that not only our own missionaries, but the missionaries of 
several Evangelical churches in this country to the number of 
about two hundred think that intervention is the worst thing 
that could possibly happen. In case the President is not inclined 
to listen to this protest perhaps you or the Bishop could learn 
from him whether such intervention is to occur and how soon. 
Then I would like that the office instruct me as to what advice 
I should give to the missionaries who might desire to seek a 
place of safety North of the Rio Grande. . . . 9 
Without waiting for the results of his appeal for church pressure 


against intervention, Butler sought out an interview with the American 
Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson, in an effort to learn for himself 
whether or not intervention was imminent. Both the Ambassador and a 
special State Department envoy, then in Mexico, emphatically denied 
that there would be any intervention, a response which left the Meth- 
odist leader feeling "considerably relieved." 10 

This sense of relief did not last long. Disburbances began to spread 
into the central valley of Mexico where much of the Methodist work was 
located. The capital became a hotbed of conflicting rumors leading 
Butler to note that "it is difficult to get at the truth. The government in- 
sists that the situation is improving, but still the war goes on."" By the 
end of March, small bands of rebels had actually appeared within the 
boundaries of the Federal District, increasing the missionaries anxieties. 
Butler estimated that the government had dispatched so many of its 
troops to other parts of the nation that there were only about two 
thousand troops in the Federal District. This was at a time when support 
for Madero within the capital was growing visibly. Another upsetting 
circumstance was the persistence of rumors that the light and water 
supply might soon be cut off. Butler took all possible precautions to 
prepare for any contingency, but admitted that he did feel considerable 
anxiety, partly because "there is a great deal of anti-American feeling 
and should the present administration fall suddenly and riot run lose in 
this town there might be attempts of violence against foreigners and 
especially Americans. Thousands of ignorant people cannot understand 
Uncle Sam's explanation for the presence of his troops in Texas. Herein 
lies the chief danger for Americans residing in Mexico." 12 

The opening of peace negotiations on April 19, between the Gov- 
ernment and the forces of Francisco Madero, came as most welcome 
news to Mexico City's American community. Butler expressed great 
hope for the negotiations and the restoration of peace, which, he 
declared, "cannot come too soon for any of us," but he remained 
anxious about conditions in outlying areas. The city of Puebla, where 
one of the largest Methodist schools was located was an object of special 
concern as rebel forces had attacked a town only thirty miles away. As 
a precaution he instructed the missionaries in that city to "have the 
American flag ready to hoist over both our buildings in that city if any- 
thing like an attack is made." 13 

While the peace negotiations produced a temporary truce in the 
State of Chihuahua they evidently had little influence of revolutionary 
activities in other areas. In many areas Methodist work was disrupted 
and at times the lives of individual ministers were actually placed in 
danger as Butler graphically described in an April 28th letter: 

While negotiations for peace are going on up in the North- 
west, disturbances in other parts of the country seem to be 
spreading. This is particularly true in the states of Guerrero and 


Puebla and in the latter state our workers are being annoyed 
considerably. Brother Aguilar, our pastor in Acatlan, has had 
to leave his appointment and come into the city of Puebla as 
his circuit is in the hands of the rebels. . . .The case of Brother 
Espinosa is, however, more serious. He is our pastor in Chietla 
of the Puebla District. On the 18th of this month the insurrectos 
entered his town and early in the morning some of the leaders 
made their way to his house and arrested him. They obliged 
him to go over to the chapel and open the door. When they 
had him inside they wanted him to confess where he had hidden 
his arms and ammunition. When he persisted that he had 
neither then they demanded of him a loan of one thousand 
dollars which, of course, he did not have. Then they tied his 
hands behind him and marched him out of the town for the 
purpose as they said of shooting him unless he paid over the 
money. Two of the brothers who had been notified came to see 
what was going on and were also arrested and tied up with 
Brother Espinosa. As they marched the three men toward the 
edge of town they were met by the mayor, who is a protestant, 
and who at once collected from the brethren 52 1 which they 
gave to the chief of the insurrectos who finally consented to 
let our pastors and the two brothers go free with orders that 
they could not again open the chapel until they had received 
permission from the revolutionary forces. . . . Brother Espinosa 
has moved over to Matamoros to remain until things quiet down. 14 
While peace negotiations dragged on in the North, the government's 
position steadily deteriorated in other areas. By early May the capital, 
itself, seemed in danger of attack. A May 6th letter to.New York head- 
quarters reflected the growing precariousness of the Government's 
military position: 

. . .rebel forces are reported on three sides of Mexico City and 
at distances varying from fifteen to forty miles, though it is said 
that yesterday a small detachment of these came to the very 
outskirts of the city. We had two riots inside the city which 
were readily handled by the police. It was said that the Presi- 
dent's house was stoned. . . . 

Puebla is probably in a more critical condition even than we 
are. Five thousand rebels are scattered around the hills within 
two days march of the city. Guanajuato is also considerably 
alarmed. . . . Orizaba seems quiet but for the strike on the large 
mills. Should the disaffected workmen join hands with the 
rebels things might become serious there. . . . 

Now all this means, of course, a certain amount of danger for 
our people, but nothing like the danger which will beset us if 
the American Government decides on intervention. Then any 


American, whether missionary or merchant, might be the victim 
of a patrotic or religious fanatic. . . 

I am quite confident that all our workers are acting prudently 
and bravely under the present ordeal and I think they will do 
so even should the situation become more acute. I have yet to 
meet the first one who is inclined to 'show the white feather' 
though all recognize the danger of the situation. 

The missionaries of the other boards, with few exceptions, I 
think feel very much as we do. We have had several confer- 
ences here at our headquarters and we are to have another at 
five o'clock this evening. This, like the others, is called by re- 
quest of the Superintendent of the Baptist work, who seems 
more uneasy than any of the rest and is inclined to advise us 
all to leave the country. 15 

The breakdown of peace negotiations and the fall of Ciudad Juarez 
to revolutionary forces dashed the last hopes of those who wished to see 
Diaz retain power. By May 13th, Butler was reporting that Mexico City, 
itself, seemed on the verge of revolution: 

The situation here in the city of Mexico . . . continues with 
even keener tension, if possible. All bar rooms and grocery 
stores where liquor is sold were ordered closed at two o'clock 
today, and they are so to remain until Monday. Police force 
has been doubled throughout the city and an immense reserve 
force is on hand in all police headquarters, ready to be called 
on. In some of the older parts of the city soldiers are keeping 
watch on some of the churches and public buildings. It is also 
said that in a few cases rapid fire guns have been lifted to the 
top of the buildings and placed in position for action. I do not 
think this is so much from an expected attack from outside as 
the fear that the working men may go on strike today and 
make trouble. 

Communication is entirely cut off from Oaxaca and has been 
for about a week. Anticipating this trouble, I sent some emer- 
gency funds to the Superintendent of that District which I hope 
will be enough to keep them from suffering for a couple of 
weeks. . . . 

The foreign Ambassadors and Ministers have been in con- 
sultation and it is said that on representation to the Mexican 
Government they have had arms and ammunition put within 
their reach for such foreigners as may wish to protect their 
lives and property in case of an extreme emergency. I think, 
however, that it is not true that President Diaz advised for- 
eigners to arm themselves, but the Ambassadors did ask the 
Minister of Foreign Relations if the government would give 


them arms and ammunition in case of need, to which he an- 
swered affirmatively. 

When we rebuilt the front of our mission house fifteen 
years ago we left off some of the iron chains and bolts, which 
seemed to be relics of the middle ages. Hence, this week we 
are having some extra bars made by which we can secure our 
front doors and windows from being broken open in case of 
a mob. 

The Hidalgo Railway, which goes out into the heart of our 

Eastern District, was cut day before yesterday and travel now 

is impossible beyond Tulancingo except on horseback and of 

course under present conditions this would not be very safe. 16 

The last days of Diaz regime proved more emotionally trying than 

physically dangerous for John Wesley Butler. Reports of fighting, rioting 

and interrupted communications came in from all parts of Mexico. The 

mining city of Pachuca, capital of the state of Hidalgo and the site of one 

of the largest Methodist schools, was a source of particular concern. 

Rioting had broken out there on the 15th of May. The following noon 

Butler received a telegram from the missionaries there stating, "We are 

all right after a terrible night. Several windows broken." 17 Once peace 

was finally restored Butler hurried to Pachuca to survey the damage in 

person. His account of events in that city is an excellent illustration of 

the government's state of collapse in mid-May, 1911: 

No North Atlantic liner ever came out of a hurricane looking 
worse than Pachua looks today. Hardly a building in the center 
of the town escaped without some injury. Of course the looting 
was done by a mob and not by the insurgents. The miners 
heard that two thousand rebels were approaching the city so 
they filled up on liquor and started in to have a time of their 
own. A distressing fact connected with the whole business is 
that some of the wealthiest families in the city joined the mob 
and participated in the looting. . . . The next day 150 insurgents 
entered and restored order. It is amusing that 150 men could 
capture a city of forty thousand and strike terror throughout 
the entire state and cause it to spread even to the national 
capital, but the small band seems to have had some very brave 
men in it. They marched the governor to the telegraph office 
and compelled him to send a message to the Federal Govern- 
ment that two thousand rebels had captured the place and 
would soon march on the City of Mexico. This telegram . . . 
led the government to fear greatly for the national capital. They 
at once sent out a few miles into the country and destroyed 
the three railroads running from Pachuca here and it is simply 
amazing to know after all there were but 150 men, less than 100 


of whom were mounted. The young man who led the band is 
only 22 years of age. When he started out two months ago 
from his home in the mountains he took the title of captain, a 
month later when he captured Tulancingo he received from the 
Madero camp a commision as colonel, on capturing Pachuca, 
the capital of the state, two weeks later he was made general. 
From all I can learn this is about the size of most of the insur- 
gent camps throughout the country and the wonder of their 
many successes is only explained by the fact that the people 
of the country sympathized with the revolutionary movement. 18 
A provision peace treaty was finally signed on May 21 and four days 
later President Diaz formally resigned, turning over power to a provi- 
sional administration headed by Foreign Minister Francisco Leon de la 
Barra. Madero had agreed to this arrangement by which de la Barra 
would govern until after new elections were held in October. Madero 
was seen as a virtual certainty to win these elections and assume the 
presidency in November. While welcoming the end of hostilities, Butler 
was, from the first, somewhat skeptical of Madero's ability to replace 
Diaz, observing that "Madero is quite an orator and seems to have a 
magnetic personality, but whether he has enough backbone and other 
governing qualities for the job remains to be seen." 19 

The Methodist leader had refrained from personal complaints 
during the trying days which preceeded the resignation of Diaz, but with 
peace apparently restored, at least for the moment, he confessed that 
"the strain is very wearing. This constant writing and telegraphing and 
otherwise trying to look after the interests of those in trying positions is 
not conducive to the best kind of health." There were satisfactions 
which evidently made this strain worthwhile for Butler proudly observed 
that "none of our missionaries have wished to leave their posts," and 
rather smugly added "the Superintendent of the Baptist Mission and all 
his family left the country nearly two weeks ago and he tried to get some 
of the rest of us to go with him. Some of the Presbyterians have also 
gone." 20 

While rejoicing in the restoration of peace, which he likened to "the 
passing of a terrible storm with all its clouds and the coming forth of the 
glorious sun," Butler continued to express regret for the fate of Diaz, 
writing on May 26 that "notwithstanding his mistakes, he is the greatest 
man our country has produced in our day. He will be more highly 
esteemed a year hence than he is now. His great mistake was in allowing 
himself to continue in office last year. 21 When Diaz left for Europe a few 
days later, the Methodists sent him a telegram thanking him for "the 
many courtesies he extended to us and our mission during his long 
reign" and "assuring him of our prayers for a safe journey." 22 

Expectations of a peaceful transition period between the Diaz and 
Madero administrations did not last long. By June 3 Butler was complain- 


ing that "the cientificos are bolting Madero's program. Indeed, they 
never have been in sympathy with it. These same cientificos are the men 
who would not allow President Diaz to resign last year when he wanted 
to. It is a very serious question as to whether Madero will be strong 
enough or not to put down factional disturbances and to lead on to 
harmony and prosperity." 23 

Dr. Butler's doubts about the prospects for Madero's success came 
as much from his belief in the immense tasks facing the new leader as 
they did from any reservations he might have had concerning his 
abilities and policies. For his own part, the American missionary was 
convinced that the revolution had opened up great opportunities for the 
protestants and constantly urged his fellow Methodists to strengthen 
their support of work in Mexico. He wrote one Methodist Bishop that: 
The armed revolution is over, but the revolution must now go 
on and consumate its work along all lines for the good of the 
people. Madero is the hero today and if he maintains himself 
properly until next October, he will doubtless be elected 
President. Predatory bands found here and there throughout 
the country must be dispersed. The great mass of Mexican 
voters must be instructed in the privileges and responsibilities 
of suffrage. Contending factions must be reconciled or at least 
taught to respect each other. A thousand and one things must 
be done in the next three months in this country. We hope 
for the best, but poor Mexico needs above everything else an 
open Bible, an untrammeled pulpit and free schools. The revo- 
lution has brought to us a supreme opportunity, such an oppor- 
tunity as the present Protestant Christianity has not seen in 
this country for sixty years. Had the church at home been 
alive to the opportunity after disestablishment of the war of 
reform, half of the Republic might have been under Protestant 
influence today. But now the door is opening again and we must 
do something to greatly strengthen our work. 24 
By the end of June Butler's hopes of Madero's success has increased 
considerably. He praised him as "a decided Liberal with strong tenden- 
cies toward Protestantism" and added "I am assured his wife shares the 
same views." He was further encouraged by the expressed optimism of 
most of the businessmen with whom he came in contact. 25 A few weeks 
later, however, this optimism had given way to renewed anxiety as 
armed clashes occurred in several parts of the nation. He warned New 
York that: 

... we are getting dangerously close to a state of anarchy 
throughout the country. . . Yesterday in Tlaxcala, just this side 
of Puebla, the disturbances were so serious that a reception 
which had been offered Mr. Madero on his way to Puebla had 
to be called off and his train was halted and put under guard 


some miles this side of its destination. Trouble is also reported 
in Oaxaca and other states. The facts seem to be that the 
Maderist forces are constantly clashing with the regular army 
and there seems to be at the moment no one who has sufficient 
influence to keep things quiet. Mr. Madero has his hands more 
than full and has yet to prove he is master of the situation. 
Perhaps one of the most serious evidences of the situation is 
that a secret meeting of six or eight of the revolutionary leaders 
was held in this city night before last. It was an all night session 
and these leaders have presented to Mr. Madero the claim that 
he has gone back on the principles which led to the triumph of 
the revolution and they further say that if he does not retrace 
his steps by shaking off a certain clique of advisors which are 
surrounding him and which they claim belong to the Diaz ad- 
ministration or to the followers of Reyes and call to his aid 
those who sacrificed fortune and risked life to make the revo- 
lution a success that they will again take the field. News of this 
meeting has not yet gotten into the papers, but my information 
is reliable. 26 

July 31 witnessed a major outbreak of violence in the mining town 
of El Oro. The miners had rioted, all foreigners had hurriedly left the 
town by special train and federal troops had been dispatched to restore 
order, which they did by killing eleven of the miners and wounding 
thirty. The immediate cause of this outbreak was attributed to the work 
of a German anarchist. The root causes of the troubles, however, went 
far beyond this and Butler warned that "many leaders of the late revolu- 
tion went about the country preaching to the people that the natives were 
entitled to the same conditions as foreigners in the mines, on the rail- 
roads, etc., and these fellows have made a lot of trouble that it will take 
a long while to get over and we may never get over it." 27 

By the end of August a measure of tranquillity had been restored 
which Butler believed would endure until after the elections. What 
would follow Madero's inauguration, however, was in his view "impossible 
to predict." The most positive aspect of the situation he felt was that the 
revolution had "set people thinking and reading." The Reform laws of 
the Juarez period had been reprieved and freedom of the press and of 
public speech were being emphasized. All of this gave the Methodists "a 
golden opportunity to circulate the Bible, to scatter religious literature 
and to plant evangelical congregations everywhere." 28 

The Methodist leader was further encouraged by the results of the 
state elections held in the summer. Of special interest was the election 
of a son of former President Benito Juarez as Governor of the state of 
Oaxaca, one of the centers of Methodist work. Butler was overjoyed 
that Juarez received 175,000 votes while "the conservative candidate for 
whom the Archbishop put forth special effort received only about three 


thousand votes." 29 Meeting with the "governor's right-hand man" Butler 
emphasized the Methodist's desire to "see that every last man and 
woman in the state received a good liberal education." The governor's 
aide seemed highly appreciative of such efforts and even attended one 
of the services which Dr. Butler conducted during a trip to Oaxaca, 
leading the American missionary to predict that the new state admin- 
istration would "put a stop to the persecutions which our people have 
been suffering from local authorities and with God's blessing we will be 
able to secure glorious victories." 30 

The presidential elections in October went off quietly, producing 
an overwhelming victory for Madero and his vice-presidential candidate, 
Jose Maria Pino Suarez. They were inaugurated the following month. In 
several letters, written late in 1911, Butler summed up his views of the 
problems and prospects facing the new administration. From the Meth- 
odist point of view, he found the outlook relatively bright, characterizing 
the Madero administration as "very favorable to us" and adding that it 
was largely made up of "genuine liberals who believe in the law of 
reform and want to see us succeed." 31 Political prospects, however, 
were much less certain. The continued resistance of Emiliano Zapata 
and his followers in the South was a major obstacle, but in Butler's view 
"a still worse feature of the situation is that here and there over the 
country are small groups of men claiming to be Zapatistas, but whom in 
reality seem to be nothing more than banditti." 32 Dealing with these 
would be one of the major tasks facing the new administration. 

Internal political opposition and relations with the United States 
were also formidable problems for Madero 's administration. Butler's views 
in these areas were summed up in a letter written November 25, 1911: 
. . . Madero has been elected and inaugurated as President and 
very naturally he ought to have a fair chance to show what he 
can do. I think this is the attitude of the American government . . . 
Madero has a most difficult task before him. The remnants of 
the old regime and the country are very slow to give any aid. 
The followers of General Reyes are putting as many obstacles 
in the way as they possibly can. I am still of the opinion, however, 
that Reyes' followers are not very numerous. I am inclined to 
think that the most serious difficulty which Madero has to 
handle is that created by his own dissatisfied followers. There 
seem to be a large number of those who were with him in the 
recent revolution who are not satisfied and herein lies the most 
serious danger to the peace of the country. I fear that some of 
these will not hesitate to stir up strife, even at the risk of 
American intervention. We hope and pray that Mr. Taft will be 
as wise and firm now as in the past and if so it will help settle 
our problems here. 33 
With the inauguration of Madero the first phase of the Mexican 


revolution came to an end, but, as predicted, Mexico's problems were 
still far from resolved. Opposition from conservatives and from some of 
Madero's own original supporters, conflicts with Zapata, social and eco- 
nomic strife, and the ever present spectre of United States intervention 
would keep Mexico in violent turmoil for the rest of the decade. For 
John Wesley Butler and his fellow Methodists the future held even more 
danger and destruction than they had witnessed to date. Butler continued 
to faithfully record these events, to lobby against intervention and to 
strive to protect the missionaries and national workers within his juris- 
diction until his death in 1918. Thanks in good part to his leadership, the 
Methodist Church emerged from the revolution as one of the most 
influential segments of Mexican Protestantism, a position it has main- 
tained up to the present. 


1 John Wesley Butler, Histoiy of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mexico 
(New York: Methodist Book Concern, 1918). 

2 John Wesley Butler to Reverend C. R. Beebe, University Place, December 28, 
1910, Archives of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mexico, Mexico City. 
Hereafter cited as M. A. 

3 Butler to Dr. H. Stuntz, Methodist Headquarters, New York, February 1. 191 1, 
M. A. 

4 Butler to Brother Bassett, Puebla, Mexico, February 7, 1911, M. A. 

5 Butler to Stuntz, March 1, 1911, M. A. 

6 Butler to Reverend Claudius Spencer, Kansas City, Missouri, March 15, 191 1, 
M. A. 

7 Ibid. 

8 Ibid. 

9 Butler to Stuntz, March 27, 1911, M. A. 

10 Butler to Stuntz, March 28, 1911, M. A. 

11 Butler to Stuntz, April 1, 1911, M. A. 

12 Ibid. 

13 Butler to Stuntz, April 19, 1911, M. A. 

14 Butler to Stuntz, April 28, 1911, M. A. 

15 Butler to Stuntz, May 6, 1911, M. A. 

16 Butler to Stuntz, May 13, 191 1, M. A. 

17 Quoted in Butler to Stuntz, May 16, 191 1, M. A. 

18 Butler to Stuntz, June 2, 1911, M. A. 

19 Butler to Dr. MacRossie, May 24, 1911, M. A. 

20 Ibid. 

21 Butler to Stuntz, May 26, 1911, M. A. 

22 Butler to Stuntz, May 31, 191 1, M. A. 

23 Butler to Stuntz, June 3, 1911, M. A. 


24 Butler to Bishop J. E. Robinson, June 22, 1911, M. A. 

25 Butler to Mr. F. A. Boyd, June 27, 1911, M. A. 

26 Butler to Stuntz, July 13, 1911, M. A. 

27 Butler to Stuntz, August 4, 1911, M. A. 

28 Butler to Reverend D. I. Pierson, New York, August 29, 1911, M. A. 

29 Butler to Stuntz, September 12, 1911, M. A. 

30 Ibid. 

31 Butler to Stuntz, November 9, 1911, M. A. 

32 Butler to Stuntz, November 3, 1911, M. A. 

33 Butler to Stuntz, November 25, 1911, M. A. 






By John A. Britton 

A neglected aspect of the history of inter-American relations is the 
work of United States journalists in Latin America in the early twentieth 
century. Latin America's proximity to the United States and the growth 
of hemispheric economic and political ties helped to bring journalists 
south of the Rio Grande for first hand study. As a freelance reporter, 
Carleton Beals lived in Mexico through much of the 1920s and 1930s, 
and also traveled extensively in Latin America including Peru. His 
writing on Mexico and Peru was a prominent part of the contribution of 
the first generation of experts on twentieth century Latin America from 
the United States. Widely known as an outspoken anti-imperialist and a 
supporter of revolutionary -movements, Beals gained less attention for 
his critical and, at times, negative analysis of revolutionary change. A 
substantial portion of this paper is devoted to this often ignored part 
of Beals' thinking. 

Much of Beals' writing has relevance to the more recent work of 
social scientists and historians, particularly on the topic of social change 
in rural areas. Of course, Beals did not use the terminology developed 
by social scientists after 1950, but he did address some of the same 
issues that are prominent in the literature of modernization. One exam- 
ple concerns the problems associated with rapid modernization in 
peasant societies, a subject of much disagreement among social scien- 
tists. Many investigators in this area assumed that modernization through 
the diffusion of new technology, market economies, and literacy axio- 
matically meant a better way of life for the local people. 1 However in 
the 1960s and 1970s many scholars began to question the validity of this 
and related assumptions. 2 The purpose of this paper is to explore Beals' 
precursive studies on this issue in Mexico of the late 1920s and Peru 
of the 1930s. 

In this essay, revolutionary change is to be viewed as essentially an 
elite-instigated process directed toward the masses. The revolutionary 
elites concoct their social reform programs within the broad context of 
national, political, and economic considerations. The nasses, on the 
other hand, tend to have a narrow, parochial point of view and often 
find the reforms to be disruptive. 3 Beals was cone ned about the 

♦Research for this article was funded in part by grants from the American Philo- 
sophical Society and the Francis Marion College Faculty Research Committee. 


impact of rapid change on the rural masses and recognized that they 
formed a relatively weak segment of society in both Mexico and Peru. 
He was skeptical about the intentions of the revolutionary political elites 
in their dealings with the peasantry. 

Beals lived in Mexico for most of the decade from 1923 to 1933 and 
was fascinated by the interplay of politics and social change that cen- 
tered around the revolutionary government. Presidents Alvaro Obregon 
1920-1924) and Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-1928) sought to achieve 
political stability and economic prosperity through the enaction of re- 
forms to benefit peasants and workers. In terms of rural Mexico, these 
reforms included the distribution of land to peasants, promotion of new 
agricultural techniques, and expansion of public education. Virtually all 
of these programs were conceived and carried out from Mexico City 
under the watchful supervision of Obregon, Calles, and other members 
of the political elite. 4 

Beals studied the interaction of revolutionary change which origi- 
nated in Mexico City and was based on the native conservatism ema- 
nating from the countryside. The Indian and mestizo peasants' attach- 
ment to their past made it an important factor in the Revolution. Beals 
weighed the violence and brutality of the Aztecs against the "generous, 
hospitable, industrious" nature of the Mayas and Zapotecs, and found 
the Indian heritage predominately benign. 5 He also concluded that this 
heritage was, to an extent, superior to the rapidly expanding modern, 
industrial civilization. Beals distinguished between the sympathetic cultural 
elite that appreciated the Indian past and the aggressive political elite 
that pushed for rapid change. The social and economic reforms fostered 
by Obregon and Calles threatened Indian-mestizo culture. In Beals' 
writing he struggled to reconcile the conflict between the way of life of 
the rural masses and the revolutionary goals of the political leaders. 

Beals saw a need for certain types of economic and social improve- 
ments in rural Mexico. He believed that the campesino must be taught 
to apply new scientific methods of agriculture. The division of large 
estates into peasant-operated collective farms was essential, but, in the 
last analysis, agrarian reform had to result in the "modernization of the 
ejido system." By "modernization" Beals meant the use of irrigation, dry 
farming, crop rotation, and other advanced techniques by literate and 
informed peasant farmers. 6 The food requirements of a rapidly expand- 
ing urban population demanded that such changes be implemented 
quickly. 7 At the end of the decade, however, Beals found that the pea- 
sants still lacked the basics in knowledge, land and government support 
to achieve these purposes. 8 

Although he felt changes were imperative, Beals sensed a danger in 
the expansion of the governments' social and economic programs into 
rural Mexico. In an historical argument, Beals cited the disruptive eco- 
nomic changes promoted by the government of Porfirio Diaz (1876- 


1910) as acting to "shatter the social order" of the countryside. 9 In the 
Revolution he saw a direct conflict between the largely Indian culture of 
the masses and the European and North American culture of the 
nation's elite groups. He further suggested that this conflict was the 
latest stage in the centuries old contest between natives and foreign 
conquerors which spanned the time from the Spanish "conquest" to the 
twentieth century. 10 In the village of Tepotzlan the natives faced the 
challenge of an 

. . . alien culture that ruffles their inner harmony and sullenly 
struggles for its place. And the freshly seared scars of revolu- 
tion! These brusque, uprooting factors are well concealed, but 
bit by bit the stoic, stark independence of the inhabitants is 
becoming darkly overcast. In the brimming cup of their normal 
unaffected lives whirls the backwash of the tempest of the 
changing world. They feel subtly, uncomprehendingly, the tug 
of these conflicting influences; yet they little realize how much 
they are puppets of grotesque, gigantic forces. . . ." 
This cultural conflict had its economic and political counterparts. 
The cities of Mexico grew during the 1920s, largely because of the 
expansion of industry and commerce. Labor unions prospered in these 
years under favorable government policies while the peasants endured a 
low standard of living and experienced many problems in building 
cohesive organizations. In 1927 Beals pointed to a split between workers 
and peasants in that 

. . . the tendency is for Mexican labor to become identified 

with the process of industrialization, seeking its gains in rapid 

economic expansion and at the expense of continued low rural 

standards. Hence the inevitable continuation of the cleavage 

between labor and peasant movements. Industry and the native 

industrial worker thus became identified with the western 

European invasion that began four centuries ago under Cortez. 

The peasant movement may ultimately be caught up in the 

same current; at present it is more closely linked with the great 

indigenous race surge of the Mexican people. 12 

In Beals' estimation the Catholic Church was too reactionary and 

too weak to help resolve this conflict. Beals saw that the church retained 

an "invisible empire" among the peasants, 13 but it failed to comprehend 

the significance of the rise of Indianism in Mexico. 14 Although Beals 

underestimated the peasants' willingness to stand and fight against the 

government's anticlerical campaign ( 1926-1929), 15 his assessment of the 

internal weaknesses of the Church was more realistic. The hierarchy 

seemed to be too distant from the rural parishes to understand their 

problems. 16 

In Beals' opinion, the government was the institution most capable 


of ameliorating the conflict between tradition and modernity for the 
rural masses. While he occasionally praised the actions of political 
leaders in areas such as rural education, 17 he found much to criticize 
elsewhere. The revolutionary government's use of coercion against the 
Yaqui Indians to subdue their defiant nature was a prime example of 
willingness to destroy or weaken local native culture for the sake of 
national unity. 18 In an unpublished letter to Herbert Croly, editor of the 
New Republic, Beals berated the arbitrary policies of the Calles' regime 
in dealing with the Cristero movement. Beals was particularly wary of 
"the antique instrument of social control, the Army, which if it can be 
used for modernization can also be used for oppression." Such devices 
offered the possibility of a unified national culture but at a very high 
cost to the Indian and mestizo peasants. 19 

For Beals, Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gamio offered the 
preferred solution. From studies of the people of the Valley of Teoti- 
huacan, Gamio concluded that some elements of native culture should 
be preserved within the modernization process. These traditions might 
help soften the often painful transition from isolated rural communities 
to a commercial and industrial society. Beals was deeply impressed by 
Gamio's implementation of these ideas in Teotihuacan and saw promise 
in his early work in Oaxaca. Much to Beals' disgust, Gamio lost his posi- 
tion in the Ministry of Education in 1925 as a result of a personality 
clash. His removal from the Ministry was a serious loss to the Revolution. 20 
In spite of many adverse factors, Beals maintained a persistant 
optimism. He saw Indian-mestizo culture as active, not passive, in its 
confrontation with elite-promoted modernization. Rather than a con- 
tinued conflict, Beals saw signs of a cultural synthesis based on the 
merger of European and North American industrialism with native tra- 
ditions. But Beals did not specify the content of the cultural synthesis 
nor the means by which it might appear. In a representative statement, 
he insisted that "the native culture is wrapping its arms about the newest 
industrialism, modifying its methods of work. . . ." His metaphor indi- 
cated the presence of a vague belief rather than complete certainty. 21 
It is worth noting, however, that he held to this belief in spite of his 
understanding of the many conflicts involved in revolutionary change 
in the countryside. 

Beals was in Peru from December of 1933 to April of 1934, a time of 
political uncertainty because of the tense relations between the military 
government of President Oscar Benevides and the leftist A.P.R.A. 
(Alianza Popular Revolucionario de America), a political party led by 
Victor Raul Haya de la Torre. A.P.R.A.'s frustrations resulting from its 
defeat in the election of 1931 exploded in a violent but unsuccessful 
revolt in July, 1932. By the time of Beals' trip, the Benevides government 
adopted a temporary policy of reconciliation with A.P.R.A. 22 Beals 
made good use of this relatively calm period by meeting with high-level 


A.P.R.A. officials including Haya de la Torre and visiting several 
peasant villages in the vast Andean hinterland. Although A.P.R.A. was 
not in power Beals felt that it was likely to have considerable influence 
in Peru's immediate future. 

In Peru the position of the revolutionary political elite was more 
tenuous than its counterpart in Mexico because of the dominant position 
of a firmly entrenched conservative aristocracy. A.P.R.A. was the 
center of revolutionary politics in Peru during the 1930s, and its antipathy 
toward the aristocracy was well known. Beals saw less obvious but po- 
tentially important sources of discord between the A.P.R.A. leadership 
and the peasants. While this type of conflict was not as clearly delineated 
as it had been in his writing on the political elite and the masses in 
Mexico, it was prominent in his analysis of the Peruvian situation. 

Beals felt that the Indian and mestizo masses of Peru, like those of 
Mexico, had preserved many valuable traditions in spite of the inroads 
made by modern commercial civilization. He was impressed by their 
ability to live in harmony with nature, seemingly without plans almost as 
if by instinct. The center of Indian life was the ayullu or community 
social organization which furnished guidance and direction for family 
life, economic pursuits and local government. In spite of generations of 
exploitation and disruption by the European aristocracy, the ayullu 
survived as a source of stability in rural Peru, to Beals an accomplish- 
ment of great importance. 23 

Beals found that A.P.R.A. and the Indian-mestizo peoples had a 
common enemy in the coastal aristocracy which continued to control 
the government in spite of the Aprista's attempts to gain power. In 
Mexico the Revolution swept aside the landowning upper class, but in 
Peru the gamonales remained in command. To Beals they were an arro- 
gant, racist and parasitic lot who blocked A.P.R.A. and held the Indians 
and mestizos in servile conditions. Under the legal system enforced by 
this aristocracy, the Indians and mestizos were not full citizens. In 
Beals' words: 

. . . they are rounded up like animals for the army and for labor 

on the large haciendas; they frequently lose their lands; they 

are mercilessly exploited. Their relation to the Peruvian state 

is one of onerous obligation, not of rights. 24 

Beals observed that the Apristas were not the first to favor social 
and economic change in rural Peru. Around the turn of the century a 
few liberal members of the aristocracy promoted education, universal 
military science, and land reform to break the peasant away from his 
traditional life style. While Beals judged these efforts failures, 25 he saw 
some similarities between them and the A.P.R.A. programs. Although 
there is some disagreement among historians concerning Haya's sin- 
cerity in calling for land reform, 26 there is little doubt that he stood for 
commercial and technical innovations in the rural areas. But the natives' 


emotional attachment to the soil and to the old style of cultivation made 
innovation difficult. Beals cited the study of rural Peru made by Mexican 
educator Moises Saenz who concluded that the land was of such impor- 
tance to the peasant that he could not see it as "property" subject to sale 
or transfer. Land was a part of the natural environment that, in the 
indigenous mind, could not be changed in any way without causing 
great harm. With such an outlook the natives perceived land reform and 
agricultural modernization as threats to a deeply ingrained, almost 
religious devotion to the old ways. 27 But Beals did not see this conflict 
in the simplistic terms of primitive versus modern. To him, Indian Peru 
was "a world of weird beauty and potential greatness." Beals warned, 
"Let not the makers and masters of machines sneer or feel too superior." 28 
Beals found potential for additional problems in A.P.R.A.'s rela- 
tionship with the peasantry. He felt that the party attempted to include 
too many social groups — both urban and rural. Haya sought to make the 
rural masses one of the three sources of support for A.P.R. A. along with 
intellectuals and the middle class. Beals saw this effort as "too compre- 
hensive. It is opportunistic, bureaucratic, hybrid. It is based on petty 
bourgeois reforms with slight collectivist tendencies." 29 By implication 
this approach had limited utility for the Peruvian peasants. Beals also 
decried Haya's personal domination of the party in which he appeared 
to be "perhaps too much of a God" to the lower echelon membership. 
In spite of these tendencies, Beals admitted that "Aprismo must be 
recognized as the most vital popular force in Peru," 30 certain to have 
an important impact on rural Peru. 

Looking beyond the immediate conflicts between Peruvian peasants 
and the revolutionary political elite, Beals had hopes for a meaningful 
reconciliation of Indian and European civilizations. He summarized his 
theories by positing the appearance of 

... an organic evolution out of native culture and traditions, 
the fusing of elements long warring in open contradiction. It 
involves, especially among highland tropic peoples, a unique 
experiment in socialization compounded of modern needs, 
colonial institutions and ancient indigenous experiences — all 
embraced in theories of democracy, Marxian economics and 
Fascist force — mass rhythms obeying vital life forces, new 
social concepts, and determinate aesthetic and ideological 
forms. 31 

In general, Beals believed that A. PR. A. and the Indian and mestizo 
masses were confronted by two types of problems: one mainly economic 
and the other cultural. Economically, the peasants endured the oppres- 
sive and exploitative hacienda system which bestowed its benefits on the 
wealthy. Beals saw the efforts to abolish this pernicious system as a class 
struggle in which A. PR. A. and the indigenous masses attempted to 
overthrow their upper class masters. 32 The cultural problem was more 


complex, and its solution called for more sophisticated methods. The 
demise of the dominant class and the ascension to power of the popular 
elements did not mean that the new, presumably Aprista-led, govern- 
ment would be able to deal with rural Peru's resistance to cultural 
change. As in his conclusions on Mexico, Beals believed that a revolu- 
tionary culture which combined native with modern might preserve the 
viable parts of the Indian heritage while introducing technical innova- 
tions from the industrialized world in a way that would not rob the 
Indians and mestizos of their self-respect. 33 

Beals gained wide recognition as an anti-imperialist and as a 
defender of revolutionary causes, but these ideological positions did not 
necessarily lead him to accept the policies of the leftist government of 
Mexico or Peru's Aprista party. Some of his critics accused him of 
blindly sympathizing with revolutionaries, an accusation substantially 
negated by a close reading of his publications and private correspon- 
dence. Beals found fault with the authoritarian political leaders of 
Mexico and the personalistic and essentially middle-class Aprista move- 
ment in Peru. He expressed grave doubts about the effects of revolu- 
tionary change on the Indian and mestizo peoples. 

One of Beals' most penetrating insights involved the ambiguities of 
elite-led revolutionary change among the rural masses of Mexico and 
Peru. While he did not systematically analyze these contradictions in a 
manner that would satisfy the modern social scientist, he did recognize 
and emphasize them in his writing. Using the findings of contemporaries 
like Manuel Gamio and Moises Saenz with his own personal experiences 
in the backlands, Beals developed an understanding of the peasant point 
of view. He was not unique among North Americans in this accomplish- 
ment, certainly Robert Redfield, Frank Tannenbaum, and Stuart Chase 
appreciated this perspective in Mexico. 34 But Beals added some provoca- 
tive generalizations that pointed out the potentially disruptive effects of 
the reforms initiated by revolutionary political elites. While he continued 
to hope for a harmonious blending of imported innovations with native 
traditions, his probing questions suggested persistent doubts. Recent 
studies have given much more refined analyses of problems associated 
with modernization in rural areas. However, within the limits of this 
paper, it seems reasonable to conclude that Beals was an important pio- 
neer in the study of the effects of elite-led revolutionary change on the 
rural masses in Latin America. 



1 S. N. Eisenstadt, Modernization: Protest and Change (Englewood Cliffs: Pren- 
tice Hall, 1966). 

2 For an overview see S. N. Eisenstadt, "Studies of Modernization and Sociologi- 
cal Theory," History and Theory, 13:3 (1974), 225-252. For more specialized 
studies see: Oscar Lewis, Life in a Mexican Village (Urbana: University of Illinois 
Press, 1951); Michael Belshaw, A Village Economy (New York: Columbia Uni- 
versity Press, 1967); F. LaMond Tullis, Landlord and Peasant in Peru (Cambridge: 
Harvard University Press, 1970); and Peter Klaren, Modernization, Dislocation 
and Aprismo (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973). 

3 Abdul Said and Daniel M. Collier, Revolutionism (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 
1971), pp. 69-80 and 104-107 and John Dunn, Modern Revolutions (London: 
Cambridge University Press, 1972), pp. 1-23, 48-69 and 244-257. 

4 Arnaldo Cordova, La ideologia de la Revolucion Mexicana (Mexico: Ediciones 
Era, 1973), pp. 262-351 and John Y. F. Dulles, Yesterday in Mexico (Austin: Uni- 
versity of Texas Press, 1961). 

5 Carleton Beals, Mexico: An Interpretation (New York: Huebsch, 1923), pp. 
3-17 and Mexican Maze (New York: Lippincott, 1931), pp. 70-93. 

6 Beals, Interpretation. 85, 106-109. 

7 Ibid, p. 114. 

8 Beals, Maze, 176-204. 

9 Ibid., pp. 38-40 and Interpretation, pp. 84, 89-92. 

10 Beals, Maze, 49-54. 

11 Ibid., p. 137. 

12 Beals, "The Revolution in Mexico," New Republic. 52 (October 25, 1927), 

13 Beals, Maze. 67-68. 

14 Beals, "The Mexican Church on Trial," Survev. 57 (October 1, 1926), 12-15, 

15 For discussions of the Cristero movement see Jean Meyer, La cristiada 
(Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1973-1974), 3 vols, and David Bailey, Viva 
Cristo Rev! (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974). 

16 Beals, Maze. 301-302 and "Mexican Church Goes on Strike," Nation. 123 
(August 18, 1926), 145-147. 

17 Beals, "Frontier Teachers," Bulletin of the Pan American Union, 59 (May, 
1925), 443-452. 

18 Beals, Maze, 186-188. 

19 Beals to Croly, June 23, 1927, Beals Papers. 

20 Beals, Maze, 188. 

21 Ibid. pp. 50-54, 162, 329. 

22 Frederick Pike, Modern Peru (London: Wedenfield and Nicholson, 1967), 
pp. 269-270 and Karen, Modernization, pp. 119-141. 

23 Carleton Beals, Fire on the Andes { Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1934), p. 325-348. 

24 Ibid., p. 310. 

25 Ibid. pp. 311-313. 

26 Thomas Davies, Indian Integration in Peru (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1974), pp. 100- 112 and Klaren, Mo dernization, 132-135. Davies argues that 


Haya's appeal to the peasants was politically motivated while Klaren sees him as 
an astute observer sincerely concerned about rural problems. For a sampling of 
Haya's public statements on the Indian problem see his Construyendo elAprismo 
(Buenos Aires: Coleccion Claridad, 1933), pp. 104-116, and Politico Aprista 
(Lima: Atahualpa, 1933), p. 23. 

27 Beals, Fire, 342. Beals made frequent use of Saenz' Sobre el indio Peruanoy su 
incorporacion al medio nacional (Mexico: Secretaria de Educacion Publica, 

28 Beals, Fire, 348. 

29 Ibid., pp. 401, 426. 

30 Ibid., pp. 427-429. 

31 Ibid,, p. 431. 

32 Ibid., pp. 319-320. 

33 Ibid., p. 306. 

34 Stuart Chase and Marian Tyler, Mexico: A Study of Two Americas (New 
York: Macmillan, 1931); Robert Redfield, Tepotzldn, A Mexican Village (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1930), and Frank Tannenbaum, Peace by Revolution 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1933). For general studies of the response 
of U.S. intellectuals see Donald L. Zelman, "American Intellectual Attitudes 
Toward Mexico, 1908-1940" (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio State Univer- 
sity, 1970) and Eugenia Meyer, Conciencia historica Norteamericana sobre la 
Revolucion de 1910 (Mexico: I.N.A.H., 1970). 




By James J. Horn 

The notorious Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding administration 
captured headlines for years and has since become a standard page in 
texts on American political history. Almost unnoticed, however, was the 
impact of that scandal on American foreign relations. During the presi- 
dencies of Calvin Coolidge and Plutarco Elias Calles, the United States 
and Mexico became embroiled in a dispute over American property 
rights in Mexico which reached near crisis proportions and raised the 
issue of diplomatic support for petroleum investments abroad. At a 
crucial moment in that dispute, the whirlwind of Teapot Dome mounted 
to trim the sails of intervention-minded Americans and steer the State 
Department toward a more conciliatory course. This little known episode 
is a classic illustration of the weight of domestic events in the shaping of 
foreign policy. 

In the late 1920s, the United States and Mexico had locked horns on 
several issues deriving from President Calles' attempts to implement 
parts of the Constitution of 1917. The agrarian reform program, while 
hardly sweeping, nevertheless adversely affected American held proper- 
ties and led to numerous formal protests from the State Department. 
Mexican anticlericalism, directed against the political might of the 
Catholic Church, provoked an intense struggle in which certain American 
Catholics sided with their Mexican coreligionists and % sought State De- 
partment intervention. Then, when Mexico backed the Liberal rebellion 
against a U.S. supported Conservative regime in Nicaragua, a large sector 
of Americans feared the "bolshevist influences" from Mexico threatened 
the Panama Canal, and the Coolidge Administration sent marines to 
Nicaragua. These incidents coincided with a bitter debate over foreign 
subsoil rights in Mexico particularly involving petroleum. Consequently, 
by 1926 relations with Mexico became a dominant foreign policy issue 
before the American public and one of the State Department's toughest 
problems. Mexico was in the news almost daily for months at a time. In 
fact, from August 1926 to February 1927, Mexico and Nicaragua over- 
shadowed almost every other foreign issue. 1 

The fundamental controversy with Mexico centered upon property 
rights. While actual agrarian seizures were more extensive, the strength 
and influence of the petroleum interests generated more publicity and 
official concern. The debate revolved around Ley Petroleo passed by the 
Mexican congress in December, 1925. 2 The law enacted provisions of 
Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917 dealing with subsoil rights, particu- 
larly the clause which read: 


Only Mexicans by birth and naturalization and Mexican asso- 
ciations have the right to acquire ownership in lands, waters, and 
their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions to develop mines, 
waters, or mineral fuels in the Republic of Mexico. The Nation 
may grant the right to foreigners, provided that they agree before 
the Department of Foreign Affairs to be considered Mexicans 
in respect to such property, and accordingly not to invoke the 
protection of their Governments in respect to the same, under 
penalty, in case of breach, of forfeiture to the Nation of property 
so acquired. 3 

Specifically, the law provided that foreign oil companies must ex- 
change their titles for fifty year leases which began with the commence- 
ment of drilling. To obtain leases, the producers had to agree to the Calvo 
Clause not to invoke protection from their home government under 
penalty of forfeiture of their rights. The law particularly affected powerful 
American and British interests. United States based firms held over 58 
percent of total petroleum investments and accounted for about 70 per- 
cent of production. British companies owned about 40 percent of invest- 
ments and controlled about 27 percent of production. 4 At this time 
Mexican oil production was second in the world only to that of the United 
States, having reached a peak of 193,397,500 barrels in 1921; by 1926 it 
had declined precipitantly to 90,420,000 barrels. 

The petroleum law was to become effective January 1, 1927, but the 
State Department challenged it before its passage. Fearing retroactive 
application of the law against companies which had acquired titles prior 
to May 1, 1917, when the Mexican Constitution was officially promul- 
gated, American Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg addressed aides 
memoire to the Foreign Office on November 17 and 27, 1925, initiating a 
lengthy diplomatic correspondence which persisted well into 1926. 6 
Throughout the contestation the United States rigidly maintained 
that the Mexican legislation was retroactive in character and confis- 
catory in effect. It argued that recognition of Mexico in 1923 had been 
based on "solemn and binding" understandings that Mexico would not 
impair American property rights. Moreover, it held that the Calvo 
Clause could not annul the relationship between an American citizen 
and his government or extinguish the government's obligation to protect 
its citizens against a denial of justice. The American position included 
numerous legal arguments affecting property rights and specific aspects 
of the Mexican law. Perhaps most irritating to the companies and to the 
State Department was their inability to determine the exact status of 
American rights to pre-constitutionally acquired titles. The Department 
shared the companies' "damned if we do and damned if we don't" 
attitude. Conceding to the legislation by exchanging acquired titles for 
leases violated their rights. But non-compliance could result altogether 
in loss of their properties. 7 


While the American position had basis in international law, the 
justice of American claims was questionable in one important respect — 
the Mexican legislation threatened but in no way violated American 
rights since the law had not yet gone into effect. The Mexican foreign 
office consistently retorted with demands for concrete cases of viola- 
tions of acquired rights. To this the Department could only respond that 
the threat of eventual seizure prevented Americans from fully exploiting 
their holdings and thus constituted pro tanto confiscation. 8 

By November, 1926, the official correspondence had reached a 
complete impasse, highlighted by the stern warning from the United 
States that an "extremely critical situation" would result if the Mexican 
laws were enforced in violation of American rights or the understand- 
ings of 1923. 9 At this juncture, the Nicaraguan and religious crises tem- 
porarily distracted attention from the issue of property rights. 

As January 1, 1927, the deadline for compliance neared, President 
Calles refused to grant a period of grace and the major American pro- 
ducers broke off negotiations with Luis Morones, Mexican Secretary of 
Industry, Commerce, and Labor. 10 Tensions mounted steadily as the 
petroleum producers, fearing loss of their holdings, demanded State 
Department backing, and Mexico, anxious to demonstrate its sovereignty, 
feared a possible intervention. Many times in the past, American war- 
ships had appeared off Tampico and the coastal areas of the petroleum 
zone to warn against threats to American properties by various revolu- 
tionary factions. In December, 1926, American marines landed to 
bolster the Conservative government in Nicaragua, with further troop 
deployments in January. Then, on January 10, President Coolidge sent 
an unexpected message to Congress defending his policies in Nicaragua 
and accusing Mexico of seeking to establish a government there hostile 
to American interests. Coolidge viewed Calles' support of the Liberal 
rebel forces as a threat to the stability and constitutional government of 
Nicaragua and a menace to the Panama Canal." 

Two days later, in answer to congressional criticism. Secretary Kel- 
logg charged before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that a 
Mexican conspiracy, linked with international bolshevism, threatened 
the Panama Canal. Kellogg left the committee a printed statement en- 
titled "Bolshevist Aims and Policies in Mexico and Latin America," 
which was printed in full in many papers the next day. 12 While the Con- 
gress remained unconvinced, Excelsior exemplified the Mexican appre- 
hension that the American government was trying to provoke among its 
people hostility toward Mexico. 13 Thus the Administration's menacing 
remarks, and the presence of marines in Nicaragua, gave the Calles 
government cause for concern. 

But January 1 came and went without Mexican action against the 
recalcitrant firms. For various reasons both sides were reluctant to force 
a showdown. The State Department, for its part, had squared off against 


Mexico with one hand tied behind its back, for the American public 
would not rally to protect American petroleum, interests. The tainted 
image of the petroleum producers directly affected American diplomacy 
by stiffening opposition to any drastic action on their behalf. 

Of the scandals of the Harding administration, the most sensational 
involved the naval oil reserves located at Teapot Dome, Wyoming and 
Elk Hills, California. As part of the conservation program, the Taft and 
Wilson administrations had set aside those reserves to be maintained 
until such time as the navy might find it difficult to obtain oil from other 
sources. Soon after Harding's inauguration, Secretary of the Interior 
Albert B. Fall persuaded him to issue a secret executive order trans- 
ferring the naval reserves to the Interior Department. Fall claimed that 
the reserves were draining off and that leases to private companies 
would profit the government and enhance national preparedness. Then, 
in 1922, Fall secretly leased the reserves, without competitive bidding, 
to companies owned by Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny. 
Rumors of the leases led to congressional hearings under Senator 
Thomas J. Walsh of Montana which began in October 1923. After 
lengthy testimony it was ascertained that Sinclair had "loaned" Fall 
$308,000 in cash and government bonds, and a herd of cattle for his 
ranch. Doheny "loaned" $100,000 more. Fall, Doheny, and Sinclair were 
subsequently indicted for conspiracy and bribery in June, 1924, but 
numerous delays postponed the trials for years. -Not until October 1929 
was Fall finally convicted of accepting a bribe and sentenced to one 
year in prison and a fine of $100,000. Doheny and Sinclair were both 
acquitted of the bribery charges, although Sinclair was sentenced to 
nine months' imprisonment for contempt of court. As for the leases, the 
Supreme Court eventually declared them invalid on the grounds that 
they had been obtained in fraud and corruption. 14 

The numerous trials and hearings associated with the scandal 
created headlines throughout the Mexican oil controversy. In fact, be- 
cause of postponements, the Fall-Doheny trial did not begin until 
November 1926. On December 16 just as the Mexican controversy 
entered the tense stage prior to the January 1 deadline for compliance, 
the jury brought in a verdict of "not guilty." I5 Nevertheless, the defendants 
had already been "convicted" in the minds of the majority of Americans, 
judging by the public response. According to a thorough sampling of 
press reports in the Literary Digest, a preponderance of the American 
press seemed to echo the sentiments of the Kansas City Star: "They have 
been acquitted by a jury, but they have not been acquitted at the bar of 
public opinion." 16 

Democratic sources were most critical of the verdict. Former Navy 
Secretary and future Ambassador to Mexico, Josephus Daniels, assailed 
the verdict and added that "the real thing I would like to say would have 
to be printed on asbestos, as it would burn up any newspaper." 17 The 


New York Times, New York World, and Brooklyn Eagle concurred that 
as far as the American public was concerned, acquittal did not vindicate 
the defendants from suspicion of misconduct. Similar sentiments could 
be found in other Democratic papers including the Norfolk Virginian- 
Pilot, New Orleans Times Picayune, and Boston Post. 18 The Richmond 
Times-Dispatch believed "virtually all the people of the United States" 
regarded the jury as derelect in the performance of its duty. 19 Other 
critical Democratic sources were the Philadelphia Record, Dayton News, 
Nashville Tennessean, Louisville Courier-Journal, and Mobile Register. 20 

Newspapers classified as independent joined those who viewed the 
verdict as acquittal without vindication. These included the Kansas City 
Star, previously mentioned, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the Spring- 
field Republican, and the Providence Journal. 21 The Cincinnati Post 
(and other Scripps-Howard papers) commented cynically: "Doheny was 
just an impulsive Santa Claus to his old prospecting pal [Fall]. So twelve 
jurors played Santa Claus for him. Merry Christmas." 22 The San Fran- 
cisco Chronicle recognized impropriety in the episode, but viewed 
Doheny as a victim duped by Fall and the Navy Department. 23 

Even the Republican papers, with few exceptions, did not rise to 
defend the verdict or the defendants. The Albany Knickerbocker Press 
called upon all good Americans to accept the decision, and the Syracuse 
Post-Standard said guilt had not been established beyond a reasonable 
doubt. 24 But such declarations of a sound verdict aside, there was much 
more critical sentiment. Numerous editors regarded the jury as lenient, 
and there was widespread feeling that the decision would not affect 
public opinion. The Wichita Beacon 's view that the episode, in the minds 
of the people, "remains about where it was before the trial," was shared 
by the Minneapolis Journal, Boston Transcript, Springfield Union, and 
Pittsburgh Gazette Times. 25 Only the New York Herald-Tribune, a con- 
sistent supporter of the Coolidge Administration, went out of its way to 
exonerate Doheny as a patriotic American. Yet even that Republican 
paper conceded Fall's "total unfitness for public office." 26 

This preponderant criticism of the verdict and the defendants and a 
general suspicion of the oil men was a persistent theme in liberal journals 
such as The New Republic, The Christian Century, and The Nation, all of 
which are mentioned later. In sum, despite the verdict, a widespread 
public suspicion of impropriety if not crime hung over Fall and the oil 
men. 27 

The issue remained alive as lower courts heard testimony on the 
validity of the Teapot Dome and Elk Hills leases. Then, in late February, 
1927, the Supreme Court upheld the lower court rulings declaring the 
Doheny leases unlawful and void and the whole affair "tainted with cor- 
ruption". 28 The prevailing press sentiment at this time held that the not- 
guilty verdict in the criminal case for conspiracy was "morally overturned" 
by the Supreme Court's decision in the civil case. 29 But the man in the 


street could cynically ask how the deal could have been consummated in 
fraud and corruption while the parties to the deal.were not guilty. 

The following month Harry Sinclair was tried for contempt of the 
Senate for refusing to answer questions during the congressional inquiry. 
He was convicted the following May. Meanwhile, defense maneuvers 
postponed the trial of Fall and Sinclair for conspiracy to defraud the gov- 
ernment slated to begin February 1, 1927. M Hence, no one was yet in jail 
as the smoldering Mexican controversy flared up anew. 

But the adverse publicity had already severely tarnished the public 
image of the oil men. A large segment of the population probably would 
have concurred with Harold Ickes' later comment that "An honest and 
scrupulous man in the oil business is so rare as to rank as a museum 
piece." 31 What is more, the American public and Congress had been 
educated to look for the sinister shadow of petroleum behind quarrels 
with Mexico. As early as 1924, the popular magazine Liberty carried an 
article linking the Teapot Dome scandal with the same oil interests that 
had kept revolutionary warfare alive in Mexico for their own private 
ends. 32 

In January, 1926, Calles had singled out petroleum as the true source 
of Mexican-American difficulties, adding: ". . . the trouble is not between 
the people of the United States and the people of Mexico, but between 
the people of Mexico and a small group of American capitalists who are 
trying to induce the Department of State to aid them by force." 33 Mexi- 
can politicians frequently blamed this problem on Wall Street magnates, 
especially the petroleros, and a similar theme was commonplace in the 
Mexican press. 34 

As the dispute with Mexico reached its tense state in January, 1927, 
President Calles weakened the hand of the interventionists by offering to 
arbitrate the controversy over property rights. The Coolidge adminis- 
tration viewed the issue as non-arbitrable and showed no inclination to 
accept the offer. 35 The American Congress and press reacted quite dif- 
ferently, however, and opponents of Administration policies began to 
blame petroleum interests for the Administration's intransigence. 

Democratic representative George Huddleston of Alabama de- 
nounced "the great American business interests" who sought war with 
Mexico "for the protection of their mines and oil wells." Huddleston won 
the applause of Congress with his ringing manifesto "I am not willing that 
a single American boy shall be conscripted and sent into Mexico to lose 
his life in order that the oil companies may pay dividends." 36 

Senator William E. Borah had already emerged as the Administra- 
tion's leading gadfly. The Republican from Idaho was chairman of the 
powerful Foreign Relations Committee and both Coolidge and Kellogg 
treated him with deference. Borah believed that there was "a determined 
effort on the part of selfish interests to embarrass our government and 
lead to a break with Mexico." 37 He cooperated with a bipartisan faction 


in the Senate in urging a conciliatory course. After a favorable report 
from Borah's committee on January 25, the Senate unanimously approved 
the Robinson Resolution calling on the Administration to arbitrate its 
dispute with Mexico. 38 

In answer to press speculation that Doheny interests were pressuring 
the Administration, in early February the Senate adopted a resolution by 
George W. Norris, the famous Nebraska liberal, requesting from the 
State Department a list of companies which had complied with Mexican 
law, and inquiring whether the State Department had given the companies 
any advice or instructions (which Kellogg denied.) 39 Meanwhile, a 
Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee heard testimony that companies 
which had not complied with Mexican law and applied for confirmatory 
concessions owned 1,660,579 acres, and that Doheny, Sinclair and Mellon 
owned 87.9 percent of the total. 40 A second Norris resolution of February 
24 asked the State Department whether Doheny, Sinclair, or Mellon 
were among the recalcitrants. 41 

Borah had earlier captured the headlines by directly wiring President 
Calles to request information on the American companies which had not 
complied with the law. 42 Before the end of February he proposed that his 
Foreign Relations Committee travel to Mexico and Central America to 
investigate. 43 While that junket never received approval. Congress did 
perceive a kind of "credibility gap" between the Administration and the 
public. With increasing frequency voices argued that American business- 
men who invested abroad did so at their own risk. 44 This of course, 
contravened the Coolidge administration's position that the government 
must protect its citizens beyond its borders. 

Coincident with this congressional debate, numerous newspapers 
and journals had taken up the cry against intervention on behalf of the oil 
men. In January, The Independent, a fairly liberal weekly, complained 
against the "active claque working steadily in this country toward an 
American domination of Mexican affairs." Noting that an explosive inci- 
dent could lead to war, that journal boldly cautioned: "Leave Mexico 
Alone." 45 

Walter Lippmann's New York World (intoned the same refrain, 
blaming men like Doheny for America's problems with Mexico. Noting 
that oil-tarnished Secretary Fall had consistently advocated intervention 
in Mexico, Lippmann admonished Coolidge to beware lest the oil 
interests lead the country into war.) 46 

In February's The New Republic, Carleton Beals queried: "Whose 
Property is Kellogg Protecting?" 47 He concluded that only Doheny and 
Mellon interests had not complied with the Mexican legislation on at 
least some of their holdings. Since Luis Morones had praised Mellon's 
cooperative attitude in his Mexican dealings, only Doheny remained 
recalcitrant. Beals ascribed this situation to Doheny's weak legal position, 
pointing out that the 1,321,167 acres controlled by Doheny interests 


accounted for 36.05 percent of the Mexican oil holdings. 48 The following 
April Beals was still campaigning for a congressional inquiry into the 
practices of the oil producers in Mexico, and charging the American oil 
titles there had been obtained by fraud, bribery, and even murder in a 
setting of "Borgian violence." 49 

Throughout February's issues, the editors of The New Republic 
charged repeatedly that the oil men were in the wrong, that Mexican 
policies did not call for force, and that the producers would have settled 
long before if State Department support had not raised expectations for 
better terms. Arguing that the American people were being asked to 
coerce Mexico for the benefit of a few citizens like Doheny, that journal 
called the Administration's Mexican policy ". . . one of the most serious 
blunders in American statesmanship in a generation." 50 

The Christian Century, a liberal Protestant journal, also warned that 
the petroleum dispute could lead to war. Referring to the previous trans- 
gressions of Doheny and his ilk, the editor observed that the oil interests 
should not be surprised if the public ignored their pleas for help in 
Mexico. 51 The Nation reprinted the entire text of one of Borah's well- 
received public addresses urging conciliation with Mexico and closing 
with the plea: "God has made us neighbors — let justice make us friends." 52 

This is not to imply that such sentiments were universal. Numerous 
papers and journals supported Administration policies and advocated a 
hard line with "bolshevist" Mexico. 53 This article does not intend to 
survey the wide range of public opinion on the issue of Mexican policy, 
however, but rather to demonstrate that corrupt oil men were linked with 
Mexican problems in both the news media and the Congress. 

The corruption of the petroleum interests so captured the public 
imagination that it became the subject of literature and the arts. Samuel 
Hopkins Adams' 1926 novel Revelry fictionalized the scandals of the 
Harding Administration and helped keep the issue alive. 54 Referring to 
Revelry in connection with the Fall-Doheny trial. The Independent 
magazine expressed hope that history would expose the scandals so the 
job would not have to be left to fiction. 55 

Joseph Hergesheimer's 1926 novel Tampico dealt with petroleum 
corruption specifically, painting a lurid picture of greed, conspiracy, 
fraud, violence, and murder directed from the London, Holland, and 
New York offices of the oil tycoons. The timeliness of Hergesheimer's 
theme emerges when one of his characters seeking American interven- 
tion in Mexico remarked: "Then we could have Article 27 reversed and 
run our companies any damn way we chose." 56 The novel received gen- 
eral unfavorable reviews, but Hergesheimer was a major writer of the 
twenties and his works sold widely. 57 At any rate, his expose of American 
commercial imperialism came at a very opportune moment. 

The popularity of this theme was again demonstrated in the Broadway 
play Spread Eagle by George S. Brooks and Walter B. Lester, which 


opened to mixed reviews at the Martin Beck theater in New York on 
April 4, 1927. The plot concerned the Spread Eagle Mining Company 
headed by a New York financier disgruntled by Mexican policies. The 
tycoon succeeded in luring the son of a former President into the path of 
a revolution he had instigated by bribing a Mexican general. The death of 
the President's son accomplished the desired goal of American intervention. 58 

With the State Department at a loss as to which way to turn, a bizarre 
episode helped guide it in a moderating direction. In late February, the 
Calles government handed over to American officials copies of about 350 
stolen American documents. The collection included official correspon- 
dence between Ambassador Sheffield and Secretary Kellogg, reports of 
the military attache, consular dispatches, and other documents stolen 
from the American Embassy in Mexico City. The complexities of this 
episode need not be detailed here. In brief, some of the documents were 
forged, but most were authentic and embarrassing. Furthermore, the 
Administration had no idea how many more documents the Calles gov- 
ernment possessed. Mexican complaints that the United States was 
plotting an invasion of Mexico seemed to have a chastening effect on 
Coolidge. 59 

The fact that the situation in Nicaragua was pretty well under 
control, and the mounting press and congressional criticism of the 
Administration seemed to discount the danger of any drastic action by 
March, 1927. The following month both sides seemed determined to 
resolve their problems unemotionally and President Coolidge manifested 
a more amiable attitude in an address to the United Press Association. 
While reasserting the government's obligation to protect American 
personal and property rights abroad, he insisted that the United States 
sought no quarrel with Mexico, sympathised with its people, and desired 
to assist them. 60 President Calles found Coolidge's remarks "serene and 
cordial" and announced that the way was now open to a satisfactory set- 
tlement of all pending difficulties. 61 That same month. Justice William 
Howard Taft wrote his friend Ambassador Sheffield in Mexico of his 
conversation with Secretary Kellogg who believed that the situation in 
Nicaragua was clearing up and the Calles government now seemed more 
disposed to yield to reason. 62 The danger past, the hardline Ambassador 
resigned during the summer, paving the way for the appointment of 
Coolidge's former college friend Dwight W. Morrow who, due to his 
personal qualities and a propitious change in Calles' attitude, worked 
out an informal and temporary settlement of the outstanding difficulties. 63 

Numerous factors help explain the sudden easing of tension. President 
Calles was faced with enormous internal problems. By late 1926 the 
smoldering religious strife had expanded into a sizeable and bloody con- 
flict, the Cristero rebellion. The Yaqui Indians' revolt also required mili- 
tary action and put a strain on the budget. The decline in petroleum pro- 
duction resulted in a serious fiscal crisis which worsened with a decline in 


the price of silver, Mexico's second major export. Calles realized he had 
little to gain by continuing to antagonize the United States and took 
advantage of the change in ambassadors to work out a settlement. 64 

For President Coolidge, the wisdom of moderation was clear with 
an election year looming. The scandals of his predecessor had put him 
on the defensive as Democrats tried unsuccessfully to taint him with 
corruption. 65 Relative calm in Nicaragua and the embarrassing stolen 
documents also played a role. Undoubtedly the public reaction against 
the oil men helped arouse considerable sentiment against the Adminis- 
tration's policies of defending property rights in Mexico. But one cannot 
overestimate the role of the Teapot Dome scandal and public opinion in 
the light of other important factors. The anti-Mexican campaign of 
Catholic partisans in the United States had the unintentional effect of 
aiding Calles by stimulating certain Protestant groups, liberal journals, 
and the Ku Klux Klan to counterprotest. Thus the State Department 
had to be wary lest it appear to be a "tool of Rome." 66 To this must be 
added the decline in importance of Mexican oil. The fear had earlier 
gripped American business and government circles that domestic petro- 
leum reserves might soon be exhausted. The post- World War I period of 
intense oil exploration began to bear fruit in 1924 with the discovery of 
vast new oil deposits in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and California. 
The companies had also begun moving their operations into Colombia 
and Venezuela which soon replaced Mexico as the major foreign 
sources for petroleum. Thus, by 1927, the previous oil scarcity had 
become a surplus making Mexican oil less consequential, lessening the 
Administration's concern, while at the same time weakening Calles' 
bargaining position in dealing with the foreign interests. 67 

All these things brought pressure to bear for a peaceful settlement 
of Mexican-American difficulties. But the mercurial barometer of public 
opinion cannot be discounted. Of course, the actual extent to which 
public opinion affected the Administration and the State Department is 
impossible to gauge. Nevertheless, there is evidence that public officials 
were very sensitive to public opinion, and on occasion even attempted 
to shape it. 

For example, in November 1926, Undersecretary of State Robert 
Olds was convinced that the public had to be "educated" if the Depart- 
ment was to win popular support for its plan to send troops to bolster the 
Conservative Diaz regime in Nicaragua. At. the suggestion of Hugh R. 
Wilson, Chief of the Division of Current Information of the State 
Department, Olds called in representatives of the four press associations 
and extracted from them a pledge not to quote him. He then related a 
sensational tale of communist intrigue in Mexico and Central America, 
and asked the reporters to cooperate in educating the public to the 
danger. Only the Associated Press complied with Olds' request, issuing a 
release on the "specter of bolshevism" in Mexico which the Department 


feared threatened the Panama Canal. When news leaked out of Olds' 
role, the Administration was embarrassed by charges of managed news. 68 
Ambassador Sheffield had been a persistent critic of the State 
Department's failure to pursue a stronger policy toward Mexico. He was 
convinced that publication of the details of cases on file in the Depart- 
ment would bring about public demands for a firmer policy. When 
Secretary Kellogg responded that there was no support for a policy 
more vigorous than the one the Department was pursuing, Sheffield 

You feel the American people would not support a move- 
ment for armed force in Mexico. I quite agree with you so long 
as we conceal from them the facts. But what would be their 
position if they knew the truth about Mexico, . . . [?] 69 
In late October, 1926, Sheffield's friend Chandler Anderson, a 
lawyer who had frequently represented Conservative Nicaraguan gov- 
ernments in Washington, reported a conversation with Kellogg in which 
the Secretary developed his belief that the Department could not go 
further than it already had in dealing with Mexico. Kellogg believed that 
Congress would not support even withdrawal of recognition, much less 
anything more drastic. He added that he was not even getting press 
support, singled out several newspapers for their hostility, mentioned 
the opposition of the American Federation of Labor, and pointed out 
that even the Ku Klux Klan supported Mexico because of its religious 
policies. 70 Obviously, Kellogg lamented this lack of support for the 

The most revealing document, and the only source which directly 
implicated public opinion in policy formulation, was a memorandum by 
Assistant Secretary of State William R. Castle, a man with considerable 
influence on Secretary Kellogg. Castle indicated that a state department 
officer had told newsmen at the time of the petroleum crisis that "public 
opinion was set, that any drastic attitude toward Mexico was pretty 
near impossible." 71 

It would thus seem apparent that the significant opposition to any 
action on behalf of petroleum interests in Mexico was an important 
consideration in the formulation of State Department policy. The glare 
of publicity given to their previous misdeeds found the petroleum inter- 
ests in a state of indecent exposure just at the height of the Mexican oil 
controversy. Almost ignored in the past, this striking coincidence forms 
the diplomatic legacy of Teapot Dome. 



1 See James J. Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum: Ambassador Sheffield and 
U.S. -Mexican Relations. 1924- 1 927 (Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New 
York at Buffalo, 1969), hereafter cited as Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum. 

2 Text of law in Charles W. Hackett, The Mexican Revolution and the United 
States. 1910-1926 (Boston: World Peace Foundation, 1926), pp. 425-431. 

3 From text of Article 27, Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, 
quoted in ibid., p. 408. 

4 Ludwell Denny, We Fight for Oil (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928), p. 56. 

5 Leonard M. Fanning, American Oil Operations Abroad (New York and 
London: McGraw Hill Book Co., 1947), p. 52, hereafter cited as Fanning, 
American Oil Operations Abroad. 

6 Aide memorie of November 17 is enclosed in Kellogg to Sheffield, November 
13, 1925, Records of Department of State. National Archives, 812.5200/50, 
hereafter cited as R.D.S. followed by file number: Aide memoire of November 
27 and other correspondence has been published as Rights of American Citizens 
in Certain Oil Lands in Mexico. Senate Document 96, 69 Cong. 1 sess. (Wash- 
ington: Government Printing Office, 1926), and American Property Rights in 
Mexico: Further Correspondence Between the Governments of the United 
States and Mexico in Relation to the So-Called Land and Petroleum Laws of 
Mexico, Supplementing the Correspondence Heretofore Published as Senate 
Document 96. 69 Cong., 1 sess. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1926), hereafter cited as American Property Rights in Mexico: Further Corre- 

7 Ibid. 

8 Summary of issues based on ibid, and official memorandum entitled "Mexico", 
January 29, 1927, James R. Sheffield papers, Yale University, hereafter cited as 
Sheffield Mss. 

9 Text of Kellogg notes in American Property Rights in Mexico: Further Cor- 
respondence. October 30, 1926. 

10 New York Times, December 30, 1926. 

11 Congressional Record. LXVIII, Part 2, 69 Cong.. 2 sess., 1324-3126: New 
York Times. January 11, 1927. 

12 Text of Statement and reports in New York Times. January 13, 1927. 

13 Excelsior, January 15, 1927. 

14 Summary based on Robert Engler, The Politics of Oil (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 317-318, hereafter cited as Engler, The Politics of Oil: 
J. L. Bates, The Origins of Teapot Dome (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 
1963), pp. 220-243; M. R. Werner and J. Starr, Teapot Dome (New York: Viking 
Press, 1959), hereafter cited as Werner and Starr, Teapot Dome: Burl Noggle, 
Teapot Dome (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1962), hereafter 
cited as Noggle, Teapot Dome. 

15 New York Times. December 17, 1926. 

16 Literacy Digest, 91 (December 25, 1926), 7. 

17 Ibid.. 6. 

18 Ibid. 

19 Ibid. 

20 Ibid. 

21 Ibid. 


22 Ibid. 

23 Ibid. 

24 Ibid. 

25 Ibid. 
25 Ibid. 

27 Numerous sources attest to press and public sentiment. See also Paul Y. 
Anderson, "Twelve Good Men and True," The Nation (January 5, 1927), 9-11, 
who argues that 95 percent of the newspaper correspondents and "the overwhelming 
preponderance of public opinion" had already convicted Fall and Doheny. 

28 Literaiy Digest. 92 (March 12. 1927), 8-9. 

29 Ibid. 

30 Werner and Starr, Teapot Dome. 221-223, 225-250, 266-284; Noggle, Teapot 
Dome. 200-215. 

31 Harold Ickes Diary. July 21, 1936, quoted in Engler, The Politics of Oil. 286. 

32 Edward S. O'Reilly, "Well Oiled Insurrections," Liberty. I (September 20, 
1924), 36-38. 

33 Plutarco Elias Calles, Mexico Before the World, translated and edited by 
Robert H. Murray (New York: The Academy Press, 1927), p. 152. 

34 See for example speeches in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies reported in 
New York Times. January 1, 1927; editorials in El Democrata. January 20, 22, 

35 New York Times, January 9, 1927: The State Department position is explained 
in H. F. Arthur Schoenfeld to James R. Sheffield, February 8, 1927, Sheffield 

36 Congressional Record. January 8, 1927, LXVIII, Part 2, 69 Cong., 2 sess. 
1291, 1292. 

37 Borah to Rev. C. E. Burgess, March 28, 1927, the William E. Borah papers, 
Division of Manuscripts, Library of Congress, hereafter cited as Borah Mss. 

38 For press accounts see Literary Digest. 92 (February 5, 1927), 10-1 1; Congres- 
sional Record. LXVIII, Part 2, 69 Cong.. 2 sess., 2200-2204; New York Times. 
January 22, 1927. 

39 Congressional Record. LXVIII, Part 2, 69 Cong.. 2 sess., 2057-2058. 

40 Hearing Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Relations, 
United States Senate, 69 Cong., 2 sess. (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1927), 28-29. 

41 Congressional Record. LXVIII, Part 4, 69 Cong., 2 sess., 4642, 4974. 

42 Arnold Toynbee, Survey of International Affairs. 1927 (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1929), 463; Text of Borah telegram and Calles reply in United 
States Daily, March 1, 1927. 

43 New York Times, February 24, 1927: Marian C. McKenna, Borah (Ann 
Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961), pp. 229-280. 

44 Amos Pinchot. "The Flag and the Dollar", The Forum, 11 (September, 1927), 

45 The Independent, 118 (January 15, 1927), 60. 

46 New York World, January 27, 1927. 

47 Carleton Beals, "Whose Property is Kellogg Protecting?", The New Republic, 
50 (February 23, 1927), 8-11. 

48 Ibid. 

49 Carleton Beals, "Who Wants War With Mexico?" The New Republic, 50 


(April 27, 1927), 266-269. 

50 The New Republic, 49 (February 2, 1927), 285-286; (Quotation:) 49 (February 
8, 1927), 312; 49 (February 16, 1927), 342; 50 (February 23, 1927), 2. 

51 The Christian Century. 44 (March 17, 1927), 323-324; see Ibid., (February 17, 
1927), April 7, 1927), 422-426. 

52 Borah, "Neighbors and Friends. A Plea for Justice in Mexico.", The Nation. 
124 (April 13, 1927), 392-394. 

53 Most consistent in supporting the Administration were the Washington Post 
and the New York Herald Tribune. For examples of dozens of papers critical of 
"bolshevism" in Mexico, see Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum. 128-157; most 
business and financial journals were remarkably silent on Mexican affairs, 
except for the Wall Street Journal and Barron 's which favored a hard line with 
Mexico. A thorough survey of business media uncovers no sentiment favoring 
protection of petroleum interest in Mexico except in such company journals as 
Jersey Standard's The Lamp. 

54 Samuel Hopkins Adams, Revelry (New York: Boni and Liverwright, 1926). 

55 The Independent. 1 17 (November 27, 1926), 607. The novel was also mentioned 
in Raymond Clapper, "Sinclair and Fall on Trial", The Nation, 124 (October 26, 
1927), 445-446. 

56 Joseph Hergesheimer, Tampico (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926), p. 279. 

57 Sales figures are not available from the publisher. Hergesheimer's "supreme 
position" as a novelist before the depression is discussed in Clifton Fadiman's, 
"The Best People's Best Novelist," The Nation. 136 (February 15, 1933), 175-177. 

58 Ernest Gruening, Mexico and Its Heritage (New York and London: D. Apple- 
ton-Century Co., 1942), p. 616; Book Review Digest. 1927 (New York: H.W. 
Wilson Co., 1928), p. 105. 

59 See Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum. 169-174. 

60 Text of Coolidge address in New York Times, April 26, 1927. 

61 Calles quoted in El Universal. April 27, 1927. 

62 Taft to Sheffield, April 13, 1927, Sheffield Mss. 

63 Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum. 189-195; Harold Nicolson, Dwight Morrow 
(New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1935), p. 304. 

64 Horn, Diplomacy by Ultimatum. 159-193 passim: Fran Schneider Jr., "The 
Financial Future of Mexico," Foreign Affairs. 7 (October , 1928), 88. 

65 Gerald D. Nash, United States Oil Policy. 1890-1 964 (Pittsburgh: University 
of Pittsburgh Press, 1968). p. 81. 

66 Denny, We Fight for Oil, 67-68. 

67 Ibid., 90; Fanning, American Oil Operations Abroad, 3-7, 53; Nash United 
States Oil Policy, 82; The serious economic crisis in Mexico and particularly the 
oil slump is covered in The Wall Street Journal, January 1, 4, 5, 14, 24, February 
1,3, 10,21, 1927. 

68 Hugh R. Wilson, Diplomat Between Wars (New York and Toronto: Long- 
mans, Green and Co., 1941), p. 179. 

69 Sheffield to Chandler P. Anderson, July 1, 1926, Sheffield Mss. 

70 Chandler P. Anderson Diary, October 29, 1926, Chandler P. Anderson 
papers, Division of Manuscripts, Library of Congress. 

71 Assistant Secretary of State Memorandum, W.R.C. [William R. Castle | 
February 1, 1927, R.D.S., 711.12/1102; for information about Castle see L. 
Ethan Ellis, Frank B. Kellogg and American Foreign Relations, 1925-1929 {New 
Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1961), pp. 12-13. 


V- IS 


Volume XVIII 

June, 1979 




%%\ w J- . JQpn 

™ S n u '«?" Ingram Library 

Published by 

A Division of the University System of Georgia 


Volume XVIII June, 1979 






Contributors iii 

Foreword v 

Preface vi 

The Role of Ferryboat Landings in East Tennessee's 

Economic Development, 1790-1870 Tyrel G. Moore ' 

Spatial Strategies in Railroad Planning in 

Georgia and the Carolinas, 1830-1860 David C. Weaver 9 

Functional and Spatial Patterns of Georgia 

Short Line Railroads, 1915-1978 ... W. Theodore Mealor, Jr. 25 

Expansion of the Pine Oleoresin Industry 

in Georgia: 1842 to Ca. 1900 Jeffrey Dobson and Roy Doyon 43 

The Georgia-Florida Land Boundary: Product 

of Controversy and Compromise Burke G. Vanderhill 59 

Frank A. Linger 

The Decline of Smokehouses in 

Grainger County, Tennessee . John B. Rehder, John Morgan, 75 

Joy L. Medford 

Prolegomenon to Future Research on 

Black Agriculture in the South J. Brady Foust 85 

Ingolf Vogeler 


Vol. Ill, 1964, The New Europe. 

Vol. IV, 1965, The Changing Role of Government. 

Vol. V, 1966, Issues in the Cold War. 

Vol. VII, 1968, Social Scientists Speak on Community Development. 

Vol. VIII, 1969, Some Aspects of Black Culture. 

Vol. XI, 1972, Georgia Diplomats and Nineteenth Century Trade 

Vol. XII, 1973, Geographic Perspectives on Southern Development. 

Vol. XIII, 1974, American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods. 

Price, each title, $2.00 

Vol. XIV, 1975, Political Morality, Responsiveness, and Reform 
in America. 

Vol. XV, 1976, The American Revolution: The Home Front. 

Vol. XVI, 1977, Essays on the Human Geography of the 
Southeastern United States. 

Vol. XVII, 1978, Dependency Unbends: Case Studies 
in Inter- American Relations. 

Price, each title, $3.00 

Copyright © 1979, West Georgia College 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Thomasson Printing Co., Carrollton, Georgia 30117 

Price, $3.00 

West Georgia College is an 
Affirmative Action I Equal Opportunity Employer 


DOBSON, JEFFERY R., received the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees 
from the University of Georgia. His teaching and research interests include 
land use, resource utilization, and vegetation. Dr. Dobson has taught 
most recently at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University and 
is presently a post-doctoral associate at the University of Georgia. 

DOYON, ROY, received the M.A. in history from the State University 
of New York at Oneonta. He is presently a Ph.D. candidate in historical 
geography at the University of Georgia where his research interests lie 
in historical landscapes of the South. 

FOUST, J. BRADY, received the Ph.D. degree from the University of 
Tennessee and is presently Associate Professor of Geography and Depart- 
ment Chairman at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His research 
interests include agriculture, manufacturing, and urban systems. He is 
the co-author of The Economic Landscape: A Theoretical Introduction 
and World Space Economy and has published articles on economic geo- 
graphy in professional journals. 

MEALOR, W. THEODORE, JR., holds the B.A. degree in history from 
the University of Florida and the M.A. and Ph.D. in geography from the 
University of Georgia. His research interests are focused on land use, trans- 
portation and remote sensing. Dr. Mealor has contributed articles to 
various journals including the Annuals of the Association of American 
Geographers and Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. 
Presently he is Professor of Geography and Chairman of the Department 
of Geography at Memphis State University. 

MEDFORD, JOY, received the B.A. degree from Wright State University 
and is presently a M.S. candidate in geography at the University of 
Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research interests are in the development of 
cultural and historical landscapes in the South. Ms. Medford is currently 
working in Eastern Tennessee. 

MOORE, TYREL G., received the M.S. degree in geography from the 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he is a candidatefor the Ph.D. 
degree. His research interests include cultural and historical geography 
of the southeastern U.S., particularly southern Appalachia. He is presently 
an Instructor in Geography at Western Kentucky University, Bowling 

MORGAN, JOHN, received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from East 
Carolina University and is presently a Ph.D. candidate in geography at 
the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Mr. Morgan's research and 
teaching interests are in the areas of agriculture and rural economics. 


REHDER, JOHN, received the B.A. degree from East Carolina Univer- 
sity, and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Louisiana State University. 
His teaching and research interests are concentrated in rural settlement 
geography, cultural geography, and remote sensing. His publications 
currently total more than twenty five in article, book chapter, and mono- 
graph form. He is currently chairman of the Remote Sensing Committee 
of the Association of the American Geographers and is associate editor 
of RSEMS (Remote Sensing of the Electromagnetic Spectrum). His 
current research is in the Historical Buildings Surveys of Grainger, Union, 
and Hancock counties, Tennessee. Dr. Rehder is presently Associate 
Professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 

UNGER, FRANK A., holds the M.S. degree in geography from Florida 
State University and presently is director of FSU's Florida Resource and 
Environmental Analysis Center. His research has emphasized public 
lands in Florida and the problems of property lines and boundaries, and 
he has co-authored an earlier article in West Georgia College Studies 
in the Social Sciences. 

VANDERHILL, BURKE G., is Professor of Geography at Florida State 
University and earned the Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan. 
He has contributed numerous articles to American and foreign profes- 
sional journals, many of which have dealt with North American frontiers 
of settlement. Studies in the historical geography of Florida and Georgia 
have appeared in Southeastern Geographer, Florida Historical Quarterly, 
and in earlier issues of West Georgia College Studies in the Social 

VOGELER, INGOLF, received his doctorate from the University of 
Minnesota and is currently Assistant Professor of Geography at the 
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His research interests focus on the 
underdevelopment of rural areas in North America. His twenty published 
articles include studies on the cultural landscapes of South Dakota Indian 
reservations, the Appalachian peasant culture region, the significance 
of subsistence farming in the United States and the preservation of prime 
agricultural lands. He is writing a book, The Myth of the Family Farm, 
on U.S. agricultural problems. 

WEAVER, DAVID C, received the B.A. degree from the University 
of Manchester (U.K.) and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University 
of Florida. His teaching and research interests include regional and urban 
planning, land use analysis and environmental management. Dr. Weaver 
is currently Associate Professor of Geography at the University of 
Alabama, Tuscaloosa. 



This volume continues the precedent of utilizing the services of a 
volume editor working under the loose supervision of a general editor, 
a policy begun with the 1973 issue of Studies in the Social Sciences. Re- 
ponsibility for selecting the theme of the present volume, the essays herein 
included, and initial editorial refinement was that of the volume editor. 
The role of the general editor was limited to broad consultation with the 
volume editor, final editing, and liaison with the printer. 

Volume topics for the past seven issues of Studies have rotated among 
various social science disciplines. This year's volume is the third issue 
to be devoted to facets of the cultural and historical geography of the 
Southeastern United States. 

As in the past, this journal is financed partially by the University 
System of Georgia. It is distributed gratis to libraries of state supported 
colleges and universities in Georgia, and to selected institutions of higher 
education in each southern state. Interested individuals or libraries may 
purchase copies of the journal for $3.00 each to help defray printing and 
mailing costs. Standing orders for the annual series are available at the 
reduced rate of $2.00. 

It is with considerable pleasure that the editors submit to you this 
volume on the Southeast. 

John C. Upchurch 
Professor and Chairman 
Department of Geography 
General Editor 


Two previous volumes of Studies in the Social Sciences have had 
Southern cultural and historical geography as their theme. Because both 
issues have been well received, it was decided to produce a third volume 
with a similar regional and thematic focus. 

The present issue contains seven articles relating to matters that 
range widely in temporal and topical content. As such they represent the 
wide range of research interests among geographers who are students 
of the U.S. South. The essays of Moore, Weaver, and Mealor emphasize 
the importance of transportation in the development of Southern land- 
scapes. Dobson and Doyon illustrate the significance of the oleoresin 
industry in Georgia. Vanderhill and Unger continue the theme of historical 
and geographical development with a review of the difficulties encountered 
in establishing the Georgia-Florida boundary line. Rehder, Morgan, 
and Medford's analysis of smokehouses as indicators of changing cultural 
landscapes illustrate how even subtle aspects of a vanishing landscape 
can provide valuable insights. Foust and Vogeler stir a radical theme in 
southern research with their call for deeper investigative approaches 
in studying Black agriculture in the South. 

The objective of this volume is to present samples of research being 
conducted by those studying aspects of Southern historical and cultural 
geography. The editors believe that this volume meets this objective. 

James R. O'Malley 

Associate Professor of Geography 

Volume Editor 

\ i 



DEVELOPMENT, 1790-1870 

By Tyrel G. Moore 

Ferryboat landings played a significant role in the development of 
economic patterns in East Tennessee during the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries. In 1871 a traveler from New York described Chattanooga's 
ferryboat as a quaint Southern institution outdated by bridging in the 
Northeast. 1 Ferries were neither quaint or exceptional to East Tennes- 
seans; they were important elements of the transportation network. 
East Tennessee's early settlement had oriented transportation patterns 
to the valleys of the Holston, French Broad, and Tennessee rivers where 
settlers found productive agricultural land (Figure 1). These and other 
streams produced frequent interruptions for travel and gave rise to the 
problem of establishing reliable stream crossing methods. 

As in the rest of the South, transportation improvements were more 
slowly realized than in other parts of the eastern United States, and the 
earliest bridges across East Tennessee's larger streams were not built 
until after 1850, nearly eighty years after initial settlement took place. 2 
Before that time, stream crossing methods were limited to ferrying and 
fording. Both were widely used, but ferries became more common on 
important routes and were the chief means of stream crossing from the 
1790s to the 1920s. During this period ferryboat landings were more 
than convenient places to cross a river. Their sites also held locational 
advantages which attracted locally important service functions. This 
paper examines the ways in which ferry crossing sites complemented 
other elements of the transportation and economic systems to stimulate 
economic development from the 1790s to the 1870s. 

Because they were privately established in anticipation of profits 
from tolls, most ferries had to be located on routes of either local or re- 
gional significance. Site selection was also based on physical characteristics 
which caused ferries to be more common on important routes. Fording 
was limited where water depths exceeded three feet or so, especially if 
wagon cargoes were subject to water damage, and was most easily ac- 
complished at points where streams flowed over beds of sand and gravel. 3 
Fords established on uneven, rocky stream beds were difficult to negotiate 
and were avoided if the stream could be crossed by ferry at some nearby 
point. 4 Before and after the organization of state government in 1796, 
road building and maintenance followed the Anglo-Saxon tradition of 
communal responsibility, which lacked engineering skills and finances. 5 
The state government could not assume financial responsibility for internal 














improvements, and the resultant system of routes varied in quality from 
county to county. 6 These conditions made travel slow and difficult and 
gave rise to multiple services provided at ferry landings. 

Permission to operate ferries was granted by county courts which 
regulated tolls and required ferry owners to keep "ordinaries," or inns, 
at their crossing sites. 7 Entries appearing in County Court Minute Books 
between 1796 and 1820 suggest that McBee's Ferry, which crossed the 
Holston River about twenty miles north of Knoxville, was typical of 
others in East Tennessee (Figure 1). Travelers' accounts from the period 
reveal that McBee's was a popular overnight stop and travel service center. 8 
In 1795 McBee advertised his blacksmithing services and stated that 
travelers could be supplied with liquors, corn, oats, and fodder. 9 These 
accommodations eased the hardships of travel and provided an outlet 
for local agricultural commodities. 

Similar arrangements were found at Clark's Ferry, near the present 
site of Kingston, where the major route from Knoxville to Nashville 
crossed the Clinch River (Figure 1). Warehouses stocked with locally 
produced agricultural commodities and a trading post were located 
near the ferry landing. For west-bound travelers this was the last service 
center to be found for the next one-hundred miles across the Cumberland 
Plateau. 10 The availability of goods and services seems also to have in- 
fluenced the success of the ferry. Toll rates set at 12'/4e for a single horse- 
man and one dollar for a loaded wagon and team often provided the 
ferryman with a daily income of twenty dollars in 1 799. ' ' A ford, passable 
for about eight months of the year, was located a short distance upstream 
but was seldom used. 12 

While services available at ferry crossings contributed to local trade, 
the activities of at least one site led to a significant permanent settlement. 
A ferry, flatboat landing, and warehouse were established in 1815 on the 
Tennessee River near Moccasin Bend. The community, Ross' Landing, 
immediately became a center of trade between the whites and the Cherokee 
Indians. 13 The ferry subsequently served the western arm of the Federal 
Road from northwest Georgia to Nashville. 14 In 1837 Ross' Landing 
became known as Chattanooga. 

Around 1830 a new era of commercial development came with the 
arrival of the steamboat. Regular service was established between Knox- 
ville and Ross' Landing, and routes extended up the Clinch River to 
Clinton, the French Broad to Dandridge, and the Holston to Tampico 
(Figure 2). 15 Flatboats and keelboats had been used on the Tennessee 
and its tributaries for a number of years, and their use was stimulated 
with the advent of steam navigation. 16 

The transportation of agricultural commodities overland and by 
flatboat to steamboat landings became a common practice, and ferry 
crossing sites played an important role in this commodity flow. Ferries 
served as trans-shipment points between wagon and water transport 










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and were staging areas for down-river flatboat movements. 17 Ferry 
landings on steamboat routes also were potential steamboat landings 
and were used when local cargoes provided a profitable stop. 18 

Country stores became significant trade centers in this system of 
commerce, and were often located near ferry landings in order to take ad- 
vantage of water transport. 19 Local agricultural surpluses such as hogs, 
bacon, lard, flour, and dried fruits were collected at these stores and traded 
for coffee, sugar, salt, and manufactured goods arriving from distant 
centers. 20 A clear example of this pattern of trade was the operation of the 
ferry and store at Pinhook Landing on the Tennessee River (Figure 3). The 
crossing site, established before 1857, connected Spring City and Decatur, 
and was one of a number of steamboat landings between Chattanooga 
and Knoxville. The site served as a warehousing point for shipments of 
local agricultural products and as a ditribution point for merchandise 
from Chattanooga and Knoxville. 21 Other ferry landings, such as Nance's 
Ferry on the Holston River, and Niles's Ferry on the Little Tennessee 
River, were useful places for collecting farm products marketed in Knox- 
ville and Loudon. 22 

The ferry landing's focal role in this pattern of trade persisted well 
beyond the 1830s, as illustrated in the 1871 manifest of a steamer arriving 
in Knoxville from Bryant's Ferry on the French Broad River near Dand- 
ridge in Sevier County. The cargo, which was described as typical, con- 
sisted of 1 1 sacks of corn, 80 sacks of flour, 26 sacks of potatoes. 8 sacks 
of bran, 64 sacks of oats, 100 pounds of bacon, and 6 cans of lard. 21 
Although the ubiquitous country store was not mentioned in this par- 
ticular instance, the quantity of goods taken aboard at the ferry suggests 
that there was some system of collection prior to shipment. Such arrange- 
ments made it economical for individual farmers to market their products 
at scales of operation which could not bear the expense of extended wagon 
or rail transportation. 24 These localized patterns collectively gave regional 
significance to the marketing system that revolved around the integration 
of water and land transportation systems. Ferry landings had become 
key elements in an economic pattern that would be maintained until 
transportation technology changed after the turn of the century. 

The economic importance of both ferries and steamboats declined 
dramatically as increased motor vehicle traffic diverted commodity flows 
away from water transport in the twentieth century. Highway improve- 
ments followed the availability of federal funds in 1916, and by 1922 only 
ten per cent of Tennessee's vehicle traffic was horse-drawn. 25 While 
a fifteen to thirty minute delay for stream crossing may have represented 
a welcome rest stop in the horse and wagon era, this interruption was 
annoying to motorists who had become accustomed to shorter travel 
times. Increased accessibility to larger trade centers also disminished 
the widespread influence of the country store, thus taking away another 
element that had given economic prominence to ferryboat landings. 

Figure 3 
"The Pinhook Ferry and Related Trade Facilities," adapted from Burnett 
and Cloverdale, An Archaeological and Historic Survey of the Watts Bar 
Steam Plant Fly Ash Disposal Pond Extension. 

Before their decline ferry landings had functioned as trading centers 
for travelers, outlets for local agricultural products, and as an effective 
interface between land and water transportation. In these ways they had 
done much to direct the flows of goods and people over the area which 
shaped the economic patterns of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 
In their passing, remnants of their operation have become part of the 
present cultural landscape. Local routes in the area continue to bear the 
names of ferries which once served them. In other instances roads ter- 
minate at stream banks where they were once linked by a ferry crossing. 
These features are reminders of an historically important transportation 
system which contributed to the early settlement and development of 
East Tennessee. 


1 O.B. Bunce, "Lookout Mountain and the Tennessee," in William Cullen Bryant's 
Picturesque America, Vol.1 (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1872). pp. 

2 Balthasar H. Meyer, ed.. History of Transportation in the Eastern United States 
before I860 (New York: Peter Smith, 1948), p. 50 and David E. Donley. "The 
Flood of March 1867, in the Tennessee River," East Tennessee Historical Society 
Publication No. 8 (1936). p. 84. 

3 Milton B. Newton, Jr., "Route Geography and the Routes of St. Helena Parish, 
Louisiana," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 60, Number 
1 (March 1970), p. 139. 

4 Knoxville Times, May 24, 1839. 

5 Thomas P. Abernethy, From Frontier to Plantation in East Tennessee (Chapel 
Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1932), pp. 152-156. 

6 Stanley J. Folmsbee, Sectionalism and Internal Improvements in Tennessee, 
1796-1845 (Knoxville: East Tennessee Historical Society, 1939), p. 38. 

7 Albert C. Holt, "Economic and Social Beginnings of Tennessee," unpublished 
Doctoral Dissertation, George Peabody College, 1923, pp. 96-97. 

8 For detailed observations of the area's travel conditions, see Samuel Cole 
Williams, ed.. Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, 1540-1800 (Johnson 
City, TN: Watauga Press, 1928) and F.A. Michaux, "Travels to the West of the 
Allegheny Mountains, 1802," Vol. Ill, pp. 105-306, in Early Western Travels 
1748-1846, Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed. (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 
1904), p. 206. 

9 Knoxville Gazette, Feb. 3. 1795. 

10 Samuel Cole Williams, ed., "Report of Steiner and de Schweinitz," Early 
Travels in the Tennessee Country (Johnson City: Watauga Press, 1928), pp. 

11 Ibid. 

12 Samuel Cole Williams, ed., "The Executive Journal of John Sevier," East 
Tennessee Historical Society Publication Number 6, 1934, pp. 107-108. 

13 Gilbert E. Govan and James W. Lovingood, The Chattanooga Country: 
1540-1951 (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., Inc., 1952) 

14 John H. Goff, "Retracing the Old Federal Road," The Emory University 
Quarterly. Vol. VI, No. 3 (October 1960), pp. 167-171. 

15 Donald Davidson, The Tennessee, Volume I: The Old River: Frontier to 
Secession (New York: Rinehart and Company, Inc., 1946), pp. 160-162. 

16 Folmsbee, op. cit.. p. 11. 

17 Interview with Mr. Wilson Nance, owner and operator of Nance's Ferry, 
New Market, Tennessee, August 23, 1974. 

Ix Interview with Mr. Sam Breeden, Knoxville, July and August, 1975. Mr. 
Breeden, and engineer with the State Highway Department in the 1920s and 1930s, 
has given considerable study to the history of steamboating in East Tennessee. 

19 Lewis E. Atherton, The Southern Country Store. 1800-1860 (Baton Rouge: 
Louisiana State University Press. 1949). 

20 J. Gray Smith, A Brief Historical. Statistical, and Descriptive Review of East 
Tennessee, U.S. of A. (London: J. Leath, 1842), p. 2. 

21 Interview with Mr. and Mrs. J. Howard Hornsby, last owners of the Pinhook 

22 Mayme Parrott Wood, Hitch-hiking Along the Holston River 1792-1962 
(Gatlinburg: Brazos Printing Company), pp. 37-38. 

23 Knoxville Daily Chronicle, September 9, 1871. 

24 Bunce, op. cit.. p. 69. 

25 Tennessee State Department of Highways and Public Works, Report of the 
State Highway Commissioner of Tennessee: For the Biennium Ending June 30, 
1928, (January. 1929), p. 27. 



CAROLINAS, 1830-1860 

By David C. Weaver 

The expansion of agriculture and the rise of the crossroads villages 
and country stores on the Piedmont of Georgia and the Carolinas after 
1800 had a profound effect on the prevailing transportation systems of 
the three states. The great influx of settlers to the areas above the Fall 
Line intensified the need for a cheaper and more reliable mode of trans- 
portation than the horse and wagon. The trend of the southeastern 
economy toward specialization in staple crops further accentuated this 

Merchants were affected as much as producers by the demographic 
and economic shifts. Competition for back country trade became more 
intense as marketing opportunities and service centers multiplied. Services 
moved consistently closer to their consumers as population became more 
dense and capable of supporting them. The process of trade expansion 
was cumulative. Populations on the outer edge of the agricultural frontier 
moved rapidly, outpacing in most instances in the inland movement of 
supply centers. They were, as a result, forced to rely on difficult journeys 
to distant markets. Slowly intermediate wagon yards and country stores 
appeared in the more densely populated areas behind the frontier to facil- 
itate the process of marketing frontier produce. These groups of stores 
gradually became small towns which equipped themselves to service the 
wagon trade that had previously flowed to seaboard communities. 

The effects of the parallel processes of urbanization and specialization 
were so widespread and obvious that coastal cities and interior towns 
quickly became aware of the changes that were taking place. The frustra- 
tions of the upland trade centers in their poor ability to move goods, and 
the fears of the coastal ports that they were losing their traditional trade 
positions, induced statewide perceptions that the existing road-river trans- 
portation system had become completely inadequate for he demands of 
trade. Repeated disappointments with canals and steamboats were major 
factors arousing sentiments in favor of railroads in both the Carolinas and 

Basically, the railroad programs evolved from the same causes that 
had given impetus to earlier road and navigation improvements; the 
desire of ports to maintain and increase their commerce, increased trade 
competition between inland service centers, the need to accommodate a 
shifting agricultural base, and the general demand for speedier communi- 
cations between the various sections of the states. All of these considera- 

tions created a situation where the advantages of railroads as public 
carriers could be effectively promoted. The result was a massive expansion 
of that transportation form after 1830 which completely overshadowed 
other communications activity in the region. 

The reason why railroads came to be viewed as such breathtaking 
innovations and achieved such rapid acceptability in Georgia and the 
Carolinas was that they worked in almost all types of weather and were 
more versatile with respect to terrain and less costly than canals. Further- 
more, the railroad could be easily accommodated to a system of private 
property reversing both the trend towards and the political and financial 
problems associated with the public ownership and operation of trans- 
portation arteries begun with the building of turnpikes and canals. This 
private property aspect of the railroad gave the initiative for development 
to local individuals. No longer were planters in insolated counties forced 
to petition their legislature and wait for action. After acquiring charters, 
groups of citizens from all over a state could solve their transportation 
problems by building railroads themselves. 

Because so much of the early railroad construction was determined 
by the flow of private capital, and organized through private companies, 
most of the existing literature on early railroads treats the role of specu- 
lative mania, fast-buck promoters, and other better motivated entrepre- 
neurs in rail development. Emphasis is also placed on the prevalent con- 
ditions of unrestrained competition which resulted in unnecessary and 
inefficient duplication of facilities, and a pattern of piecemeal development 
characterized by excessive flurries of construction activity stimulated by 
the availability of cheap money. Largely neglected by study to date is the 
fact that while many railroad developments were influenced by the basest 
of mercenary considerations, many others resulted from grand designs for 
regional development, and were conditioned by a variety of considerations 
related to the prevailing spatial economy into which they were introduced. 
This study attempts to illustrate some of the geographic and planning 
considerations, both regional and parochial, which characterized railroad 
building in Georgia and the Carolinas before 1860. 


The first expression of public support for railroads in the southeast 
was that for the Charleston and Hamburg project, the first totally steam 
operated line in the United States. The alignment of the road was deter- 
mined by two factors, the level nature of the terrain and the spatial organi- 
zation of Charleston's existing trade area. 1 Charleston merchants were 
aware by 1827 that the growth of the South Carolina Fall Line towns — 
Columbia, Camden, and Cheraw — had cut into their retail traffic. They 
also knew that the port was not getting its share of increased business 
from the spread of cotton production to the interior. 2 Railroads to these 
towns, however, seemed unlikely to improve Charleston's trading position 


a great deal. Rivers and canals already afforded a means of bringing cotton 
from lands around the Broad, the Wateree and Peedee to Charleston. The 
city was still getting their import-export business and seemed likely to do 
so. The new road was given priority over alternative Columbia and 
Camden routes simply in an attempt to divert the Savannah river trade to 

There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the line in areas other 
than those through which it was projected to pass. 3 Subscription books 
were open for four days at Columbia, Camden, and Hamburg without 
a share being taken. Charleston, including the city government, the banks, 
and insurance companies, supplied all the money. It was a Charleston 
effort to revive Charleston. In Hamburg's case the lack of interest was due 
to the fact that its connections with Savannah and Charleston via the 
Savannah River, were reasonbly satisfactory. The other towns were little 
interested in a project to improve the economic welfare of Charleston 
and even less in promoting the interests of Fall Line business rivals. Also 
the road did not appear to offer any real prospect of filling the transpor- 
tation needs of the uplands. 

The railroad between Charleston and Hamburg was completed in 
1 833 and Charleston's commerce increased after its construction. 4 Charles- 
ton was delighted and began to consider a transmontane line that would 
tie the city to the rapidly expanding agricultural regions of the Middle 
West. It was hoped that such a connection would make Charleston not 
only the chief commercial center of the South, but also assure its position 
as the dominant east coast seaport with extensive inland connections and 
a volume of traffic rivaling that of New York and the other major Atlantic 

The main line of the projected railroad was to start at Charleston then 
run through middle South Carolina and western North Carolina, over the 
mountains and through the valleys of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky to 
a terminal at Cincinnati. Its potential linkages raised even greater pro- 
spects. Cincinnati had either completed or begun connections by river or 
canal with western Pennsylvania, the rest of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and 
other areas adjacent to the Great Lakes. The more farsighted South 
Carolina railroad promoters looked to a time when large areas of the 
Midwest would become tributary to Charleston instead of other Atlantic 
coast cities. 5 The Cincinnati and Charleston Railroad Company was 
approved by charter in South Carolina in 1835. Charleston subscribed a 
substantial amount of money but the other states through which the line 
was to pass, particularly Tennessee and Kentucky, showed little interest. 6 
As a result, the idea foundered at this time for primarily financial reasons, 
although it was revived at frequent intervals up to the end of the century. 7 

One consequence of the Cincinnati-Charleston project in the 1830s 
was the completion of a spur of the South Carolina Railroad to Columbia. 
This branch was intended eventually to be the stem for the transmontane 


line and was notable for its indirect alignment with respect to Charleston. 
In order to provide the most economical construction, the line was laid 
in such a way as to provide the shortest link between Columbia and Cam- 
den and a point on the South Carolina Railroad northwest of Charleston. 
The result was a line, completed in 1842, running southeast from Colum- 
bia, along the Saluda to a point southwest of Camden, where it turned 
southwest to cross the Saluda and strike the Hamburg line at Branchville. 
Immediately after the Columbia Branch was completed, Camden began 
to campaign for its own connection to the line. The railroad company 
agreed to put up a number of shares equal to that subscribed by private 
individuals if a right of way could be secured. These conditions were met, 
and the line was completed in 1848. 


At the same time that Charleston was promoting the transmontane 
line the city was also encouraging Athens, Georgia, to build a railroad 
west from Augusta to link the central Piedmont of Georgia to the Ham- 
burg road. s The promotion of the Georgia Railroad began the most 
sustained and perhaps the most acrimonious of the railroad based trade 
area conflicts in the South before 1 860. Before Charleston's backing of the 
Georgia R.R., Savannah had been somewhat reluctant to consider a rail- 
road development to the Piedmont because of the costs of building across 
the pine barrens, which were functionally a population desert. 9 

Savannah had long felt secure in its monopoly of the Savannah river 
trade, but the advent of railroad construction in South Carolina threatened 
this old order. With the completion of the Charleston and Hamburg R.R. 
in 1833, no city in Georgia saw more clearly the threats and advantages 
of railroad expansion to the maintenance of its trade hinterland than 
Savannah. 1() This perception was heightened as the Georgia R.R. became 
virtually an extension of the Charleston and Hamburg. 

As Charleston developed a rail connection with the heart of upper 
Georgia draining away some of Savannah's established trade, the question 
for Savannah became not whether but where to build. Columbus, Macon, 
and Milledgeville all solicited Savannah's favors but Macon promised 
to supply more subscription funds. In 1833 a group of Savannah business- 
men secured a charter to run a railroad to Macon, hoping to assure for 
themselves through it the trade of the central and western part of the state. 
Of the 12,308 shares sold in the company, the city of Savannah took 5,000 
and the city of Macon 2,500. Milledgeville and Sandersville were the other 
major contributors." 

Places throughout the Piedmont with the exception of Augusta were 
interested in connecting with the Savannah line. Augusta felt that on the 
one hand a railroad to Augusta would be a distinct advantage but on the 
other it would probably divert the trade of the town and the plantations 
southwest of Augusta away from the town to Savannah. For some years 


the latter was the prevailing consideration. Also, the Georgia Railroad, 
at Charleston's instigation, threw its influence against any proposal for 
an Augusta connection with the Central. 12 Despite Augusta's disinterest, 
the Central of Georgia and the city of Savannah decided in 1847 to put 
up the money for a railroad into Augusta from the south. I3 The line from 
Millen on the Central to Augusta was completed in 1854. This move only 
increased the hostility of the two lines which competed for control of the 
trade of the Georgia cotton belt. 

Competition between the two companies for tributary traffic was 
inevitable. The two railroads paralleled each other for a considerable 
distance and more frequently were less than fifty miles apart. As a result 
they vied constantly for the trade and traffic of this somewhat narrow 
corridor which separated them. One of the specific issues related to this 
competition which gave rise to great irritation between the two companies 
was a proposal by the Georgia Railroad to extend its Warrenton spur into a 
branch to Macon. 14 This would have established a direct line between 
Macon and Augusta and introduced a threat from Charleston to the traffic 
of south-central and western Georgia which Savannah considered itself 
to have pre-empted. Some of the communities to be connected by this 
route, such as Sparta and Milledgeville, actively promoted the plan, 
and Macon, Augusta, and Charleston lent their support. 

At first the Georgia Railroad used the plan as a bargaining chip 
in a defensive strategy aimed at limiting the Central's expansion to the 
south and west. The Georgia R.R. suggested that any expansion by the 
Central would result in countervailing moves by the Georgia R.R. with 
the Warrenton spur as the stated example. In 1860 the Georgia Railroad 
changed its posture, however, and shifted to an offensive strategy, com- 
mitting itself to the implementation of the Warrenton project. The Central, 
not to be outdone, immediately announced a planned retaliatory exten- 
sion to Union Point which would give it an entry to the Athens trade 
focus. Although the onset of the way delayed completion of the Central 
project for some years, this localized contest provides a good example 
of the balance of forces and the types of tactics which characterized early 
railroad development strategy in the three state area. 


The apparent success of the Charleston and Hamburg in South 
Carolina stirred similar action in North Carolina and Virginia. Wilming- 
ton, Petersburg, and Norfolk all combatted each other for the Roanoke 
valley trade by building railroads to tap that river at the Fall Line. 15 The 
Petersburg road was constructed first, generating a quick reaction from 
Norfolk. The roads of both cities competed for locational advantages 
on the Roanoke. Petersburg won temporarily by construction of a short 
line from its initial route to Gaston above the Fall Line. 16 Feeling threat- 
ened. North Carolina's business interests began in 1833 to demand a 


response to the Virginia challenge. 

The Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad Company, chartered in 1834, 
was chiefly a Wilmington enterprise to connect North Carolina's leading 
port with its capital city. I7 When the citizens of Raleigh failed to subscribe 
their share of stock, the company decided to build the railroad from 
Wilmington to Weldon on the Roanoke where it was hoped that con- 
nection and competition would take place with the Virginia roads. Upset 
by the shift in terminus, Raleigh businessmen promoted and obtained 
a charter for their own road, the Raleigh and Gaston. The line ran from 
Raleigh to Gaston to connect with the railroad from Petersburg. It was 
strongly supported by Virginia interests and opposed by Wilmington. 
Both companies were organized and operated as private corporations 
and neither originally expected aid from the state. I8 Eventually both were 
obliged to ask the state for assistance in order to complete their lines, 
but the aid was relatively small. 


By the 1840s, and with the completion of the first North Carolina 
lines, a distinct pattern of railroad expansion had begun to appear in 
Georgia and the Carolinas. In all three states the planning and operating 
controls on expansion were being exerted by the commercial and financial 
powers in the territory drained by the roads. The economic horizons of 
these decisionmakers rarely extended beyond their city or port, resulting 
in a provincial attitude toward railroad function. They conceived the 
railroad as their most potent weapon in the growing commercial rivalry 
between leading ports and interior distributing centers. In formulating 
development policy they sought to achieve three basic goals: long-term 
investment profit, localization of traffic at the principal terminus, and 
development of the economic resources of the area tributary to the road. 

From this localized perspective emerged an operating strategy that 
guided railway policy in the three states before the Civil War. According 
to this idea the railroad existed to service its key terminus and the area 
tributary to it. The welfare of city, territory, and company alike required 
that all three realize their mutually dependent relationship and the need 
to foster it. Basic to this idea was the principle of one railroad for one 
region or territory, and the need to avoid any road alignment that would 
carry traffic away from the sphere of the controlling cities. 

The description by Julius Gridinsky of this territorial concept as 
it operated in the west is equally applicable to the southern situation: 19 

To serve a territory with no railroad was the ambition of every 
road operator . . . An extensivley controlled local territory was 
an asset as long as it lasted. A monopoly of this kind was per- 
haps the most important strategic advantage of a railroad, 
provided, of course, the monopolized area originated valuable 
traffic or served as a market for goods produced in other areas. 


Territory thus controlled was looked upon as natural territory. 
It belonged to the railroad that first reached the area. The con- 
struction of a line by a competitor was an "invasion." Such a 
construction, even by a business friend of the possessing road 
was considered an unfriendly act. The former business friend 
became an enemy. 

Virtually all of the early railroads were financed by city and private 
subscriptions with the city providing the lion's share of the money. Because 
railroad construction was a costly enterprise, only the larger wealthier 
cities could participate in it. As a result the cities capable of supplying 
the capital were the ones which shared most in, and benefited most from 
railroad construction. The arrival of the railroads marked a new stage 
in the differentiation of the possessors and the non-possessors of trade 
which had been proceeding since the early days of colonization. With 
the coming of the railroads, there appeared to be no hope that the small 
ports could increase their trade. At the same time, the fortunes of the 
smaller interior towns appeared destined to be subject to the whims of 
the big city railroad builders. 


To some extent the financial disadvantages of the smaller cities, with 
respect to railroad building were relieved after 1840 by the intervention 
of the state legislatures. This was particularly the case in North Carolina 
where the state decided that it was in the best interests of the people for 
the government to build a railroad through the middle of the state. The 
line was projected to run from the Tennessee line to Beaufort, the state's 
best deep water harbor. 20 This move had two major objectives. One was 
to cheapen the cost of transportation to the sea for large areas of the North 
Carolina Piedmont. The second was to keep the traffic in North Carolina 
commodities in North Carolina during its journey to the sea. North 
Carolina's port interests constantly complained of losing traffic to Virginia 

Due to "pork barrel" political decisionmaking the road was not 
aligned through the center of the state, as originally planned, but around 
it in a semicircle from New Bern to Charlotte. It provided, when com- 
pleted, a solid penetration line between the coast and the mountain fringe, 
and traffic along it gave New Bern an unexpected lease on life. The road, 
however, ran through Raleigh and Goldsboro and consequently traffic 
continued to be lost to Petersburg via the Raleigh and Gaston line, and 
to Wilmington via the Wilmington and Weldon line. 21 The carefully 
established gauge differentials of the North Carolina railroad system 
(more fully treated below), with respect to those of Virginia and South 
Carolina, were obstacles to the transfer of freight, but they could not 
counteract the advantages of the shorter distances to Virginia ports from 
large areas of the North Carolina Piedmont. Only one railroad was built 


without substantial state aid in North Carolina between 1840 and 1860. 
The line from Wilmington to Manchester, South Carolina, was an attempt 
by Wilmington businessmen to grab a share of Charleston's traditional 
trade hinterland in eastern South Carolina. 22 

The state of South Carolina took a more piecemeal approach in its 
support of railroad building. Its standard procedure was to encourage 
private enterprises to provide the funds for construction. If these attempts 
failed, the state usually stepped in with supplementary funds to assure 
completion. Because of this attitude of the legislature, the evolution 
of the South Carolina railroad network between 1 840 and 1 860 was some- 
what different from that in North Carolina. Instead of a single planned 
trunk line running from the coast to connect all the important mountain 
fringe towns, the crooked stem of the South Carolina Railroad was used 
as the base for any lines which were able to raise the money to build to it. 
The result was a piecemeal set of lines converging on Columbia from 
the towns of the mountain fringe, each having short connectors to impor- 
tant Piedmont villages. 23 This construction confirmed the position of 
Columbia as the outstanding Fall Line mart of the state and concentrated 
the trade of the Piedmont even further at Charleston, enabling that city 
to maintain its lead as the largest town of the region. 

The regional trading position of Charleston was challenged by both 
Wilmington and Savannah, and Charleston had to struggle with minimal 
state aid to defend its territory. It countered the thrust of the Wilmington 
and Manchester by building the Northeastern Railroad to intersect that 
line at Florence, and by persuading Cheraw to build a line to Florence 
to connect with the Northeastern. 24 This drew Cheraw away from Wil- 
mington and into the Charleston orbit. Charleston made a less successful 
attempt to attract trade from the Savannah River and southeast Georgia 
by building the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Little traffic was 
diverted by this move. 

In Georgia the attitude of the state to railroad-building between 
1840-1860 was different than that in both of its Carolina neighbors. 25 
The Georgia legislature insisted that the railroads of the state be built 
by private enterprise, avoiding state sponsorship wherever possible. 26 
The overriding consideration in railroad building, therefore, became 
cheap construction. Normally roads were built over the shortest distance 
available to connect them with the state's two early established trunk 
roads — the Central of Georgia and the Georgia Railroad. The result, 
though for entirely different reasons, was circuitous routes to the coast 
from western Georgia and Alabama similar to that in North Carolina. 

Georgia's one great exception to its non-intervention policy was its 
construction and operation of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Real- 
izing that there was no hope of raising local capital in the remote and 
poorly settled area of northwest Georgia, and recognizing the tremendous 
advantage to the central and southern parts of the state of access to the 


food supplies of the Midwest, the state resolved to build a rail connector 
from the Georgia Piedmont to Chattanooga. 27 The railroad was a link 
for lines from the Midwest, converging at Chattanooga to the lines already 
established within Georgia. 2X 

The precise language of the Act which established the Western and 
Atlantic was as follows: 29 

A railroad communication as a State work and with funds of 
the State shall be made from some point on the Tennessee River, 
commencing at or near Rossville, in the most direct and practic- 
able route to some point on the Southeastern bank of the Chat- 
tahoochee River which shall be most eligible for the extension 
of branch railroads thence to Athens, Madison, Milledgeville, 
Forsyth and Columbus and to any other points which may be 
designated by the engineer or engineers surverying the same 
as most proper and practicable and on which the legislature may 
hereafter determine, provided that no sum greater than three 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars shall be appropriated 
annually to the work contemplated by this act shall otherwise 

Realizing that the best junction point for branch roads was further 
east than the river the legislature amended this act the next year so as 
to provide "That the Western and Atlantic Railroad shall continue from 
the Southeastern bank of the Chattahoochee River to some point not 
exceeding eight miles as shall be most eligible for the running of branch 
roads thence to Athens, Madison, Milledgeville, Forsyth and Columbus, 
and that the same shall be surveyed and located by the engineers in chief, 
upon the ground most suitable to answer the purposes herein expressed." 

The work was begun in 1837 when Stephen Long, Chief Engineer, 
located the southern end of the line by driving a stake at a point where 
the northeast corner of the old car shed was located which was at the 
intersection of Wall Street and Central Avenue at the southwest corner 
in the heart of Atlanta. As a result of this judicious investment policy the 
state of Georgia achieved a deeper penetration of the interior and a more 
efficient rail network than either North or South Carolina, without com- 
promising the territorial extension of individual railroads within the state. 
The completion of this system had been projected as early as 1825 
by Governor Wilson Lumpkin. In his book on the Removal of the Chero- 
okees, Lumpkin tells of his trip through Cherokee-inhabited Georgia 
with Hamilton Fulton as a representative of the State Board of Public 
Works. 3o 

In the year 1825, when I was elected a member of the Board of 
Public Works by the Legislature of Georgia, and being selected 
by my colleagues of the Board and by Governor Troup for the 
purpose, spent the year 1826, in company with Mr. Fulton, the 
State Engineer, in taking a general reconnaissance of the state, 


with a view to a systematic plan of internal improvements. While 
in this service I devoted my whole time and all the capacity I 
possessed to acquiring information connected with the business 
in which I was then engaged. I then came to the conclusion that 
railroads would prove to be the best possible investment for 
Georgia and that they would someday directly supersede the 
navigation of small rivers and most of the canal projects of that 
day. Moreover I then thought whenever Georgia should find 
herself prepared to embark on any great work of internal im- 
provement one should commence at Savannah, from thence to 
Milledgeville and from thence to some point on the Tennessee 
River, near where Chattanooga is now located. These opinions 
were not only entertained but freely expressed, officially and 
unofficially, upon proper occasions. 


In overall perspective the intervention of the states in railroad building 
after 1 840 had little effect on basic concepts developed in the earlier period. 
Territorial strategies, emphasizing the conscious avoidance of connections 
with competing lines and the countering thrusts from opposing trade 
areas, continued to prevail. These strategies were primarily responsible 
for the disjointed and fragmented character of the southeastern rail net- 
work before 1860. The failure to connect Florida and Georgia by rail 
before 1860 was in part because Florida business interests feared that 
the trade might be monopolized by Savannah instead of benefiting 
Florida ports. 31 A through route across the Piedmont region of North 
Carolina to the northeast was prevented by a gap between Greensboro, 
North Carolina and Danville, Virginia. The advantages of a line permitting 
through-traffic to Richmond was recognized early in the century by 
merchants in western North Carolina. Commercial interests in eastern 
North Carolina, however, especially those at the port cities of New Bern 
and Wilmington, allied to defeat all attempts to obtain a charter for such 
a railroad from the North Carolina legislature until the needs of the Con- 
federacy forced its building. The fear of eastern North Carolina was that 
the trade of the Piedmont would be diverted from North Carolina ports 
to Richmond. 32 

Gaps were not the only obstacles to interstate railroad traffic. Gauge 
differentials provided a more considerable hinderance. The first railroad, 
the Charleston and Hamburg, adopted a five foot gauge. This influenced 
consequent railroad construction throughout most of the South. The 
five foot gauge was adopted exclusively by Georgia, South Carolina 
and Tennessee railroads and it was the dominant gauge in Kentucky, 
Mississippi and Alabama. A number of Virginia railroads were standard 
gauge, as were almost all those of North Carolina, and some short lines 
in Kentucky and Mississippi. In the case of the short lines, gauge variations 


usually reflected local differences in judgement and poor realization of 
the potential of the railroad as a means of long distance transportation. 
Railroads in northern Kentucky and northern Virginia adopted the 
standard gauge in attempts to foster connection to the north across the 
Ohio and Potomac Rivers where that gauge prevailed. The gauge pattern 
in North Carolina, however, was an expression of the economic chau- 
vinism of that state. 

The resentment of the citizens of North Carolina — particularly those 
of the east — concerning the flow of North Carolina produce to Charleston, 
Petersburg, Richmond, and Norfolk, was an important fact of political 
life in the state from its beginning. The arrival of railroad technology 
seemed to many North Carolina businessmen their first real opportunity 
to redress the situation. An internal improvements convention in Raleigh 
in 1833 adopted a resolution declaring that the state should use its power 
"in creating and improving markets within her own limits. " 33 Standard 
gauge was selected for the Wilmington and Weldon despite the five foot 
roads already being built in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. After 
that the state was careful to maintain its own gauge. 

There was continued opposition in the state to standard gauge, but 
the coastal counties, along with Wilmington, New Bern, and Morehead 
City, always outvoted it. When the line between Greensboro and Danville 
was built at Confederate demand during the Civil War, eastern interests 
prevailed upon the legislature to require that it be standard gauge, despite 
its connection at Danville with the five foot gauge of the Richmond and 
Danville. 34 Military necessity finally forced the legislature of North 
Carolina to approve changing the gauge to five feet, but the act by which 
this was authorized was careful to provide that the gauge would be changed 
back to standard width within six months after the close of the War. This 
act, authorized in 1865, was not implemented. 

Other obstacles to through traffic were maintained in the Georgia- 
Carolina railroad network before 1860. Caps between railroads occurred 
in a number of prominent cities. When the first railroads were built they 
were regarded primarily as avenues for trade between a port city and its 
hinterland. As a result they ran to and not through the port cities. Because 
of noise and fire hazards terminals were normally kept to the edges of 
cities, allowing no connection with other rail lines to the city, or to the 
docks for direct transfer of goods to ships. By the 1 850s, with the invention 
of spark arresters, lines were allowed to enter downtown areas, but not 
to make the physical connections which would permit interchange of 
rolling stock or facilitate the transfer of freight from one line to another. 

Restrictions were maintained by local business groups who either 
had a vested interest in the transfer business or who wished to increase 
the trade of their own ports over those of competitors. The terminals of 
the Central of Georgia, the Savannah, Albany and Gulf, and the Charles- 
ton and Savannah Railroads had separate terminals and no physical 


connection in Savannah. 35 Not until 1850 did Macon give its consent for 
the Central of Georgia, the Southwestern, and the Macon and Western 
to make a junction of their tracks. 36 Only after prolonged opposition 
in the state legislature was the South Carolina Railroad Company granted 
the privilege of building a bridge over the Savannah and making a con- 
nection with the Georgia Railroad at Augusta. Also at Augusta local 
commercial interest prevented the Augusta and Savannah line from 
forming a junction with other railroads entering the city. 37 The Ashley 
River separated the tracks of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad 
at Charleston from those of the other two railroads running into the city. 
At Wilmington the Cape Fear River, as well as gauge differences, blocked 
through rail movements. 38 Gauge differences separated the Charlotte and 
South Carolina, from the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherfordton, 
and the North Carolina, at Charlotte. Only inland, and usually away 
from the navigable waterways, were there genuine junction points such 
as those at Atlanta, Columbia, Florence, Raleigh and Goldsboro. 

The railroad network would have been more extensive and inter- 
connected had a second planned objective — that of completing routes 
to facilitate intersectional trade — been achieved. For a variety of reasons, 
economic, topographic and political. North and South Carolina failed 
in their attempts to construct lines from the Atlantic Coast, through the 
Appalachians, to Tennessee and the Midwest. By 1860 only Georgia, 
with more favorable topography for its route, and a more attractive 
junction across the state line at Chattanooga, was able to gain a trans- 
montane penetration, and a real interregional connection. 


The main objective of railroad planning in Georgia and the Carolinas 
before 1860 was to secure control over a particular trade territory and to 
exclude competition. Investment in line construction was the primary 
tool employed by ports and interior trading centers for extending their 
spheres of influence. Political manipulation and thoughts of counter- 
vailing construction were the main tools used for preserving territorial 
integrity and trade monopoly. The result, by 1860, was a railroad network 
comprised of a series of substantial, but relatively discrete short trunk 
lines. These systems flowed much like the rivers of the area draining from 
the Piedmont to the Atlantic coast. They were controlled largely by the 
capital and the votes of the major ports, and were primarily sustained by 
the profits of transporting the agricultural produce of areas served by 
the system to the coast. 

The two main results of the dominance of the "short haul" and "ter- 
ritorial" planning concepts were a poor physical integration of neighboring 
systems, and a neglect of spatial efficiency in network design with respect 
to long-haul or interregional traffic. There were only four major long 
distance rail routes operative in Georgia and the Carolinas by 1861. These 


were: (1) Charleston to Memphis via Augusta, Atlanta, and Chattanooga 
(755 miles) opened in 1857; (2) Alexandria and Mobile via Charlottesville, 
Lynchburg, Bristol, Knoxville, Atlanta, and Montgomery (1,215 miles) 
opened in 1861; (3) Louisville to Charleston via Nashville, Chattanooga, 
Atlanta and Augusta (782 miles) opend in 1859, and (4) a seaboard route 
from the Potomac to Cedar Key, Florida via Richmond, Weldon, 
Florence, Charleston, Savannah, Waycross and Jacksonville, complete 
except for a short gap in South Georgia in 1 860. The routes were circuitous 
however, involving repeated transfers from one line to another, and 
were poorly co-ordinated in terms of scheduling. The route between the 
national capital and Florida, loosely welded from seven individual port 
feeder roads, provided perhaps the best example of a sequence of indirect 
alignments with respect to ultimate destination, occurring anywhere 
at any time in the absence of topographic obstacles. 

The development of the railroads as a transportation mode was an 
innovation to the southeast in more than the simple technological sense. 
Railroads were extensive and expensive installations involving much 
more in the way of benefit and locational analysis than the piecemeal 
road and canal construction which had gone before. The railroads were 
in effect the first of the truly large scale "planned" public works programs 
in the Southeast. The history of their development indicates the widely 
perceived importance of spatial considerations in facilities planning at 
their early date. It also shows that the temporality of valid judgements 
is nothing new in planning experience. The railroad system, developed 
with a precise logic based on the political and economic circumstances 
of the 1830s were outmoded and ineffective based on the economic and 
political demands of the 1860s. 

Hindsight, often too harsh a judge, senses some irony in the fact 
that the disjointed railroad system — which was one of the most taxing 
strategic and logistical difficulties encountered by the Confederate military 
machine, and one of the biggest economic burdens of the reconstruction 
South — was deliberately created before 1860 by some of the commerical 
interests most supportive of secession. Most of the railroad strategists 
of the 1830s and 1840s, however, would not have considered themselves 
to be either long range or regional planners. For the most part they 
practiced a type of planning characteristic of contemporary retail and 
industrial development, which attempts to maximize trade and out- 
distance completion through judicious facility location. Viewed in this 
way the planning achievements of the early railroad developers of Georgia 
and the Carolinas can be judged through a more charitable retrospect. 



1 D.D. Wallace, The History of South Carolina, American Historical Society, 
New York, 1934, p. 404. 

2 U.B. Phillips, A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860, 
Columbia University Press, New York, 1908, pp. 133-134. 

3 A.G. Smith, Economic Readjustment in an Old Cotton State; South Carolina, 
1820-1860, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, S.C. 1958, pp. 158-159. 

4 Wallace, op cit.. pp. 405-407. 

5 Smith, op. cit., pp. 160-161. 

6 S.J. Folmesbee, Sectionalism and Internal Improvements in Tennessee, 1796- 
1845, East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville, Tenn., 1939, pp. 117-167. 

7 W.W. Way, The Clinchfield Railroad, University of North Carolina Press, 
Chapel Hill, N.C., 1931, pp. 33-46. 

K P.J. McGuire, "Athens and the Railroads, The Georgia and Northeastern," 
Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 18, 1934, pp. 1-26. 

9 B.C. Yates, "Macon, Georgia: Inland Trading Center, 1826-1836", Georgia 
Historical Quarterly, Vol. 45, 1961, pp. 1-21. 

10 Phillips, op. cit., p. 253. 

11 M. Dixon, "Building the Central Railroad of Georgia," Georgia Historical 
Quarterly, Vol. 45, 1961, pp. 1-21. 

12 Phillips, op cit., pp. 264-266. 

13 W. Harden, A History of Savannah and South Georgia, Vol. 1, n.p. Chicago 
and New York, 1913, pp. 325-326. 

14 Phillips, op cit., 287-291. 

15 T.J. Wertenbaker, Norfolk, Historic Southern Port, Duke University Press, 
Durham, N.C., 1931, pp. 102-203. 

16 C.W. Turner, "The Early Railroad Movement in Virginia," Virginia Magazine 
of History and Biography, Vol. 55, 1947, pp. 350-371. 

17 C.C. Weaver, Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860, 
John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1903, pp. 77-84. 

18 C.K. Brown, A State Movement in Railroad Development, University of North 
Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1962, pp. 104-105. 

19 J. Grodinsky, Transcontinental Railway Strategy, 1869-1893, University of 
Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1962, pp. 104-105. 

20 Brown, op cit., pp. 63-94. 

21 Ibid, pp. 95-147. 

22 Phillips, op. cit., pp. 352-354. 

23 Ibid, pp. 336-349. 

24 Ibid, pp. 354-364. 

25 M.S. Heath, "Public Railroad Construction and the Development of Private 
Enterprises in the South before 1861," Journal of Economic History, 19, 1950, pp. 
40-58, and M.S. Heath, Constructive Liberalism: The Role of the State in the 
Economic Development of Georgia to 1860. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 
Mass., 1954. 


26 F.A. Cleveland and F.W. Powell, Railroad Promotion and Crystallization 
in the United States, Longmans, Green, New York, 1909, p. 214. 

27 E.M. Coulter, A Short History of Georgia, University of North Carolina Press, 
Chapel Hill, N.C., 1933, pp. 253-256. 

2K R.S. Cotterhill, "Southern Railroads and Western Trade 1840-1850," Mis- 
sissippi Valley Historical Review. Vol. 10. 1917. pp. 427-441. and "Southern 
Railroads, 1850-1860, Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 10. 1924. 
pp. 398-405. 

29 W.G. Cooper, The Story of Georgia, American Historical Society, New York, 
1938. Vol. Ill, p. 340. 

30 W. Lumpkin, The Removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia, Dodd. 
Mead and Company, New York, 1907, Vol. II. p. 294. 

31 Phillips, op. cit.. pp. 359-361. 

32 C.K. Brown, "A History of the Piedmont Railroad Company," North Carolina 
Historical Review, Vol. 3. 1926, pp. 198-222. 

33 C.K. Brown, At State Movement in Railroad Development, op. cit., pp. 202- 

14 C.W. Ramsdell, "The Confederate Government and the Railroads," American- 
Historical Review. Vol. 22. 1917. pp. 749-810. 
35 Harden, op. cit.. p. 489. 

16 Phillips, op cit.. p. 294. 

17 C.C. Jones and S. Dutcher. Memorial History of Augusta. Georgia. D. Mason 
Co., New York. 1890. p. 504. 

38 B.R. Taylor and I. Neu, The American Railroad Network, 1861-1890, Harvard 
University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1956, pp. 46-47. 





By W. Theodore Mealor, Jr. 

The annals of American history are replete with illustrations of com- 
munities attempting to build or attract railroads. Constructed at different 
times and with different gauges many of these railroads initally operated 
as short lines, reflecting the economic development of the areas they 
served. Most of these lines have disappeared through mergers into larger 
systems, as other modes of transportation usurped their functions, or 
as the need for their services vanished. 

In his article "Freight Traffic Functions of Anglo-American Rail- 
roads," William H. Wallace makes the point that "freight traffic character- 
istics of railroads are to a considerable degree products of the regions 
served and the patterns of rail lines." 1 Assuming that Wallace's statement 
is correct, then freight traffic functions and distributional patterns of 
railroads should change as the economic base of the regions they serve 
change. Wallace classified Class I American and Canadian railroads 
according to freight traffic statistics averaged for a ten year period. 2 
Although he alluded to functional change, Wallace did not pursue the 
topic. Also, because most Class I railroads have considerable mileage of 
track and serve large areas, it was difficult for him to do more than list 
the percentage distribution of freight traffic by commodity groups. 

Based on the methodology developed by Wallace, this paper seeks 
to determine the relationships between spatial patterns and functional 
characteristics and the viability of Georgia short line railroads. The specific 
objectives of the paper are (1) to describe and compare the spatial patterns 
and characteristics of short line railroads and (2) to compare their func- 
tional characteristics for the study years 1915, 1940, 1965, and 1978. The 
results of the study should provide insights into the viable nature of the 
short lines and serve as a basis for relating areal economic data with the 
spatial and functional characteristics of the short lines. 


There is no standard definition of a short line railroad. One definition 
describes a short line as "a common carrier railroad that is listed in either 
the Official Guide or the Pocket List of Railroad Officials, or both, which 
has a route mileage of less than 400." 3 The American Association of Short 
Line Railroads, however, has members whose main lines exceed 2,000 
miles. Other criteria that could be used to define a short line railroad 
include the number of locomotives operated and rolling stock owned. 


For the purpose of this study the following criteria were used to define 
a short line: ( 1) a maximum of 150 miles of main line track; (2) function 
that consists of inter-city service; and (3) operation of rolling stock under 
its own corporate name. These criteria eliminate longer haul railroads, 
terminal switching companies, and those railroads that own nothing 
but right-of-way and do not operate rolling stock. It does not exclude 
those railroads that are wholly owned or controlled by another company 
as long as the subsidiary operates rolling stock and locomotives under 
its own name. 


Although passenger traffic may have been of significance at one time, 
the function of Georgia short line railroads traditionally has been the 
transporation of freight. Using the annual Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion reports of the railroads on file with the Georgia Public Service Com- 
mission, each short line has been classified according to the commodities 
it hauled and by its function as an originator or receiver of traffic for each 
of the study years. Unfortunately, classification of some railroads was 
impossible due to incomplete reporting and, since 1963, by a change in 
reporting form. 

There are five possible commodity classifications based upon the 
Commission's annual reports. They are: (1) agricultural commodities; 
(2) animals and animal products; (3) products of mines; (4) products of 
forests; and (5) manufactured goods. Two other classifications, (6) bal- 
anced and (7) combination are possible based upon admixtures of the 
five principle commodities. 

A short line railroad was classified as one through five of the above 
types if the tonnage hauled of a specific commodity amounted to 36 per- 
cent or more of the total tonnage carried and there was at least 1 1 percent 
difference between the leading commodity and the next most important 
commodity. A combination classification was achieved when the leading 
commodity represented 35 to 50 percent of the total tonnage and the 
second commodity amounted to more than 25 percent of the total and 
there was less than 10 percent disparity between the two. The third and 
fourth commodity groups combined must have been equal to or less 
than 25 percent of the total tonnage. The classification of balanced, 
determined in three ways, indicates that at least three commodity groups 
are significant in the admixture of freight carried. 4 

Functional classification of a railroad was determined by computing 
the percentage of commodity tonnage that originated on line or that 
was received from another rail connection. More than 50 percent of the 
total tonnage was necessary to classify a railroad as an originator or as 
a receiver. A railroad that was classified as an originating line was sub- 
typed as (1) an "internal line" when the largest proportion (at least 30 
percent) of freight was both originated and terminated on line or as (2) 


a "generating line" when more than 30 percent of its tonnage was origi- 
nated on line and delivered to another railroad for further shipment. A 
receiving line was sub-typed as (1) a "terminating line'" when more than 
30 percent of the goods it received were delivered on line, or as (2) a "bridge 
line" when more than 30 percent of the received goods were delivered 
to another railroad for continued shipment. 5 Unfortunately, information 
on function other than originating and receiving was not readily available 
for Georgia short lines. 


The 47 short lines operational in Georgia in 1915 had a total of 1,900 
miles of main line track (approximately one-third of all main line mileage 
in the state). Analysis of the distribution of these railroads indicates several 
areas of concentration (Figure 1). The most outstanding pattern was 
along the northeast-southwest route from Augusta to Valdosta. With 
interchanges in Dublin, Hawkinsville, Bridgeboro, Rockledge, Wadley, 
and Glennville, the 15 short lines of this network provided service from 
Albany, Valdosta, and Bainbridge to Macon, Augusta, and Brunswick. 
Another concentration, consisting of four lines, paralleled the Savannah 
River. Other focal points were LaGrange, Gainesville, and Waycross. 
No short line was isolated; either through direct connections or via other 
short line routes, each company in 1915 and in subsequent years had 
access to main line railroads. 

Commodity information is available for 32 short lines in 1915 (Table 
1). Of these, nine (28 percent) were engaged primarily in the transportation 
of forest products. Only one of these lines, the Gainesville and North- 
western, was located in north Georgia. The six railroads ( 1 8 percent) whose 
commodity function classified them as "manufacture" lines were located 
in central and north Georgia. All three lines (nine percent) classified as 
carriers of agricultural goods were located in north Georgia. There were 
eight short lines (25 percent) whose commodity functions classified 
them as balanced and three-quarters of these were in south Georgia. Five 
railroads (14 percent), all in south Georgia, were functionally classified 
as combination lines. Analysis of the admixtures of commodities carried 
by the 1 3 balanced and combination short lines shows that the two leading 
classifications were manufactured products (11 lines), agricultural pro- 
ducts (eight lines), minerals (five lines), and forest products (two lines). 
Only one short line, the Gainesville Midland, was classified as a carrier 
of minerals. 

Information on function is available for only 13 of the short lines 
in 1915 (Table 2). Of these, seven were classified as originating lines and 
six as receiving lines. Although four of the receiving short lines were 
classified as balanced or combination, manufactured goods were dominant 
on all lines except the Macon and Birmingham (agricultural-mineral). 
Only one of the originating short lines (the Tennessee, Alabama, and 





FOREST A Nome A _ 

MINERALS .•. N .9.mej»_ 
AGRICULTURE _r N _ame»_ 
BALANCED _.i.1?.'2St ._ 
COMBINATION . . * N . a .'V** . . 

5 10 20 30 40 

Figure 1. 


Georgia, a carrier of manufactured goods) was not a dominant carrier 
of raw materials. All other originating short lines were transporters of 
forest products or were classified as balanced or combination with agri- 
cultural goods being the most significant commodity carried. Interestingly, 
one-half of the originating agricultural and forest lines originated more 
traffic in manufactured goods than they received. On the other hand, 
only three of the receiving lines generated more agricultural cargo than 
they received. 

Table 1 





Greene County (G. Co) 


Louisville and Wadley (L&W) 

Macon, Dublin and Savannah 

(Mac., Dub., &Sav.) 
Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia 

(T, A&G) 


Gainesville and Northwestern 

Ocilla, Pinebloom, and Valdosta 

Ocilla Southern 

Pelhani and Havanna (Pel. & Hav.) 
Savannah and Statesboro (Sav. & St.) 
Talbot ton 

Waycross and Southern (Way. & S.) 
Waycross and Western (Way. & W.) 


Atlanta and West Point 

(Atlanta &W. Pt.) 
Flint River and Northeastern 

Georgia Northern (G.N.) 
Hawkiasville and Florida Southern 

Macon and Birmingham 

Monroe (Mon.) 
Sylvania (Syl.) 
Wadley Southern 


Gainesville Midland (G'ville Mid.) 

Elbert on and Eastern 
Lawrenceville Branch (L'ville Br.) 
Union Point and White Plains 

Augusta Southern 

Fitzgerald, Ocilla, and Broxton 

Georgia Southwestern and Gulf 

(Ga. SW.&G.) 
Valdosta, Moultrie, and Western 

(Val. & Moultrie) 
Wrightsville and Tennille 


Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 


In 1940 there were 24 short lines operating over slightly more than 
1,000 miles of main line track (Figure 2). The decrease in number of 
operational units resulted in a significant change in the areal pattern of 
the short lines. The network connecting Augusta with Macon, Valdosta, 
and Brunswick was broken with the demise of the Augusta Southern, 
the Valdosta, Moultrie and Western, and the reorganization of the Georgia 
Coast and Piedmont, the Wadley Southern, and the Hawkinsville and 


Florida Southern. Although one line (the Savannah and Atlanta) still 
paralleled the Savannah River, the pattern was not as dense as it had been 
in 1915. Although a node still existed at Gainesville, the pattern in north 
Georgia showed little spatial association of one short line with another. 
Similar to the 1915 pattern, the majority of the 1940 north Georgia 
short lines were tentacles, providing rail connections between a central 
place and a main line railroad. The short lines on the Coastal Plain tended 
to be areally associated with each other and to be integrated in the state- 
wide rail net formed by the Atlantic Coast Line, Central of Georgia, Sea- 
board Airline, and Southern railroads. With the exception of the Tal- 
botton, no short line duplicated a direct route of a major railroad. 

Table 2 

Internal Originating Receiving Bridge Terminating 

Augusta Southern Atlanta and West Point 

Hawkinsville and Florida Gainesville Midland 


Ocilla Southern Georgia Northern 

Savannah and Statesboro Georgia Southwestern and Gulf 

Tennessee. Alabama, and Macon and Birmingham 


Wadley Southern Macon, Dublin, and Savannah 
Wrightsville and Tennille 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

Twelve of the 23 short lines for which 1940 data are available were 
engaged predominantly in transporting manufactured goods (Table 3). 
Of these lines, five were in north Georgia and seven in south Georgia. 
Only four ( 1 7 percent) of the short lines, all in south Georgia, were classi- 
fied as carriers of forest products. Three lines (13 percent) were classified 
as balanced, and three as combination. Manufactured goods coupled 
with products of forests or agriculture were significant in the admixtures 
of the four balanced and combination lines in south Georgia while north 
Georgia lines were dominated by combinations of minerals and manu- 
factured goods. Only one short line was a "mineral" railroad and no line 
was classifed as "agricultural." 

The overwhelming proportion (78 percent) of Georgia short line 
railroads functioned as receivers of freight in 1940 (Table 4). Nine of the 
18 receiver railroads were sub-classified, five as terminating lines and 
four as bridge lines. As would be expected, two of the terminating lines 
were tentacles, connecting a small town with a Class I railroad. The other 
three terminal routes and all of the bridge lines connected two or more 


♦ Ta/lulah Falls* / 

•* <• 







MINERALS _* N .9nJS*_ 

AGRICULTURE r N _ame = _ 

COMBINATION . . ■ Nome" 
UNCLASSIFIED .._* N .qme*___ 

6 5 10 20 30 40 



°o 6 \* 








I 1 

• Lakeland* 

US. Go. A 


I S t. Marysn 

WTM 2-79 W-" 

Figure 2. 


Table 3 




Atlanta and West Point 

Flint River and Northeastern 

Georgia Northern 

Georgia Southwestern and Gulf 

Greene County 


Louisville and Wadley 

Macon, Dublin, and Savannah 


Savannah and Atlanta 


Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia 


Sanders ville 
South Georgia 
Talbot ton 
Wadley Southern 

Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester and Camilla 
Tallulah Falls 
Wrightsville and Tennille 




G)llins and Glennville 
Gainesville Midland 
St. Marys 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

places that were served by Class I railroads. 

Carriers of manufactured goods tended to function as receiving 
lines. Only two "manufacture" short lines were originating companies 
(the Hartwell, a tentacle route, and the Savannah and Atlanta, serving 
the port city). Of the four remaining receiving lines, three were sub-typed 
as bridge lines and one as a terminating line. Likewise, the six short lines 
classified as balanced or combination were receiving lines and three of 
these were sub-typed as terminating routes. Again, manufactured goods 
were significant among the commodities carried by these railroads. The 
one "mineral" short line (the Lakeland) was a tentacle and functioned 
as a terminating route. Three of the four forest products related lines 
were originators of traffic while the fourth was classified as a bridge line. 

SHORT LINE FUNCTIONS: 1965 and 1978 

By 1965 only 16 short lines, operating 750 miles of main line track, 
remained in Georgia (Figure 3). Only remnants of former patterns re- 
mained; the spatial association of the three former Pidcock family owned 
lines (the Georgia Northern, the Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester and Camilla, 
and the Albany and Northern) in southwest Georgia being the best 
example. In only one other place (Tennille) was there a junction between 
two short lines. The remaining eleven lines were areally disassociated 
from each other. Four of the short lines were tentacles as was the branch 


Table 4 





Savannah and Atlanta 
Talbot ton 
Wadley Southern 

Collins and Glennville 
Flint River and Northeastern 
Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester 

and Camilla 
Georgia Southwestern and Gulf 
Greene County 
Louisville and Wadley 
St. Marys 


Gainesville Midland 


Tallulah Falls 

Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia 

Wrightsville and Tennille 

Atlanta and West Point 
Georgia Northern 
Macon, Dublin and Savannah 
South Georgia 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

of another. The remaining lines connected cities served by Class I railroads. 

Information is not available on commodity tonnage for 1965. How- 
ever, data are available from 1963 for nine of the short lines (Table 5). 
Surprisingly, the number of forest related railroads increased from four 
in 1 940 to five in 1 963, all in south Georgia. Three of the "forest" railroads 
(the Chattahoochee Industrial, the St. Marys, and the Valdosta Southern) 
were owned by timber related industries. Two, the Chattahoochee Indus- 
trial and the Valdosta Southern, were founded after 1950. Three lines 
were carriers of manufactured goods and one line was classified as a 
carrier of minerals. 

Data on short line functions are even more scarce than information 
on commodities. No functional patterns or associations can be discerned 
for the six lines for which information is available (Table 6). 

Eight short lines were operational in Georgia in 1978 (Table 7). With 
the merger of the former Pidcock lines into the Southern system and 
the Wrightsville and Tennille into the Central of Georgia, all remaining 
vestiges of the 1915 Augusta to Valdosta network of short lines were 
dissipated. Five of the remaining short lines were tentacles while three 
provided connections between two or more Class I rail lines (Figure 4). 
Although commodity and function data were not available in the annual 
reports, ownership characteristics were. Three of the lines were owned by 
companies involved in forest related industries, indicating that the com- 
modities they carried were probably forest related. One other line, the 


* r 





FOREST A Nome A _ 

MINERALS _.f. N .am8f__ 


BALANCED _.4MSffi>.i._ 

COMBINATION . . ■NomyB . . 


6 5 10 20 30 40 


8 Tenn a ' 





.AChoH Ind.A 


I to. 


ASt MorysA 

WTM 2-79 

Figure 3. 


Sandersville, owned 345 hopper cars and served a kaolin mine north of 
Sandersville. More than likely this line was still classified as "mineral" 
in 1978. 


Of the 49 short lines included in this study, 41 no longer operate as 
inter-city carriers under their own names (Figure 5). Ten of these lines 
are operational as part of Class I rail systems while one operates as a 
switching company. Several of the remaining 30 lines were bought by 
larger railroads prior to their routes being abandoned. 

Slightly more than one-third (15) of the short lines in existence in 
1915 were out of business by 1930 and all but four of these were in south 

Tabic 5 

Manufacture Forest Balanced Mineral Agriculture Combinat ion 

Atlaniu and West Poini Chattahoochee Industrial Sandersville 

Louisville and Wadley Si. Marys 

Savannah and Atlanta South Georgia 

Valdosta Southern 

Wrightsville and Tennille 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

Georgia. Ten of these lines were tentacle routes that in most cases did 
not serve communities of any size, a paradox in light of some of the 
corporate names. For instance, the Ocilla, Pinebloom and Valdosta, 
owned by the Gray Lumber Company of Willacoochee, served neither 
Ocilla nor Valdosta, but did connect Lax, Pinebloom, and Shaws Still. 
One terminal of the Savannah and Southern was at Louin while the other 
terminal was located "two miles past Willie." 7 

Table 6 


Internal Originating Receiving Bridge Terminating 

— Sandersville Louisville and Wadley Atlanta and West Point 

Savannah and Atlanta South Georgia 

Wrightsville and Tennille 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 




\ / ) \ 


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V / 

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1 / / 

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\ 5 10 20 30 40 


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y/ \\ ' ~~^^<-L 




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N x AN 

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7^—— — 1— ' V V \ 1 


V ... SW» 

f \ '' V -X. 


X' ' \ - 1 

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>Cy ^ 

\ /^ N 

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\ X A^ ^ 

V \ / 1 v / \ 

\ / \ M \ 

\ \ / \ 

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^5< / W 

1 \ (f) 

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V I {[/ 



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\ / K Y \ jA 

\J Kg^ 




WTM 2-79* -* 1 

Figure 4. 


* f 

f J 





FOREST * Nome A _ 

MINERALS _* N _?. m «!»._ 


BALANCED _.*f*fj™l._ 

COMBINATION . . ■ Name ■ _ _ 

UNCLASSIFIED ..jfcNanie*... 

6 5 10 20 30 40 


+ Val. So* 


*St. Marys* 


\ G / 

WTM 2-79^- — > 

Figure 5. 


The depression did not wreak havoc upon Georgia short lines. Only 
six lines, three in south Georgia, failed between 1930 and 1941. Of these, 
four were tentacles. However, several companies, such as the Wadley 
Southern, abandoned routes that were integral to the total Georgia rail 
network. Since 1942 nine short lines, six in south Georgia, have ceased 
operations. Six of these were part of the state-wide network while one 
other essentially replicated the route of a Class I railroad. Ten of the 15 
short lines that went out of business between 1930 and 1978 had at least 
one county seat as a terminal and three of the others served at least one 
community with a population of more than 2,500. 

Table 7 


Railroad Ownership or Affiliation Railroad Ownership or Affiliation 

Atlanta and West Point (Seaboard Coast Line) Louisville and Wadlev (Central of Georgial 

Chattahoochee Industrial (Great Northern Paper Co.) St. Marys (Gilman Paper Co.) 

Gainesville Midland (Seaboard Coast Line) Sandersville (independent) 

Hartwell (independent! Valdosta Southern (Owens-Illinois Co.) 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

Data available on commodities carried by 21 of the 30 defunct short 
lines during their last year of operation reveal both areal and commodity 
associations (Table 8). Twelve of the 21 companies were primarily carriers 
of forest products and all but one of these were in south Georgia. Two 
other south Georgia short lines carried forest commodities in combination 
with manufactured goods. Although information is sketchy, apparently 
many forest oriented railroads were originators of traffic. Eight of the 
lines were tentacles, joining such places as Cogdell with Waycross and 
Haylow with Statenville. The corporate life of most of these lines was 
short. Only three of the companies were operational prior to 1900 and 
nine were out of business by 1930. Interestingly, two of the oldest com- 
panies, the Talbotton and the Wadley Southern were among the last to 
cease operations. 

The three lines classified as carriers of manufactured goods ceased 
operations between 1930 and 1941. Although each was a receiver of goods, 
only one was part of the state-wide rail network. Both of the tentacle 
routes connected cities of some regional importance (Savannah with 
Statesboro and Gainesville with Helen. No significant patterns or associa- 
tions can be concluded concerning the routes or commodity functions 
of the other defunct short lines. 

The types of commodities carried by a short line and its ability to 
accommodate or adjust to changes in local needs apparently is related 


Table 8 




Gainesville and Northwestern ( 19331 
Savannah and Statesboro ( 1933) 
Greene County 1 1941 1 



Fitzgerald, Ocilla, and Broxton ( 1918) 
Ocilla, Pinebloom and Valdosta ( 19181 
Valdosta, Moultrie and Western (1919) 
Pelhani and Havanna 1 19221 
Savannah and Southern ( 1922) 
Waycross and Western 1 1925) 

Union Point and White Plains ( 1927) 
Waycross and Southern 1 1929) 
Flint River and Northeastern (1946) 
Talbotton (1956) 
Wadley Southern ( 19b4i 


Augusta Southern ( 1920) 


Elberton and Milstead 1 1961 ) Collins and Flemington, Hinesville and Western (1915) 

Eastern 1 1933) Glennville ( 1941) Hawkinsville and Western ( 19151 

Sylvania ( 1954) Flovilla and Indian Springs ( 1916) 

Lawrenceville Branch i I919i 
Roswell (1921) 
Shearwood (1937) 
Lakeland (1957) 
Tallulah Falls (1961) 
Bow don 11963) 

Atlanta. Stone Mountain and Lithonia 
loperated as switching company) 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

to its viability as an operational company. Data on 16 of the defunct short 
lines show that the dominant types of commodities carried by nine of 
them during their last year of operation were the same as they carried 
during the selected study years. All nine of these lines functioned as 
originators of traffic, predominantly forest products, during the selected 
study years and, with the exception of the Talbotton, all were out of busi- 
ness by 1930. 

The types of commodities carried by the remaining seven short lines 
were not uniform for the selected study years. Most of these lines carried 
either agricultural or forest products in 1915 (only the Milstead, owned 
by a textile mill, was classified as a "manufacture" line). During subsequent 
years manufactured goods became the dominant commodity carried on 
all but two routes. The majority of this type of short line initially func- 
tioned as originators of traffic; however, each functioned as a receiver 
of goods during at least one of the study years. 


Short lines that were merged into the systems of Class I railroads 
typically were integral to the state-wide rail network at the time of merger 
(Table 9). In several cases only a portion of the short lines' routes were 
incorporated into the larger system. Also, many of the short lines had 
been controlled by a Class I railroad prior to being operationally merged 
with the parent system. All but two of the merged short lines were estab- 
listed prior to 1900 and, with the exception of the Monroe, each at one 
time operated in excess of 50 miles of main line track. 

Table 9 

Short Line 

Class I Company 

Date of Merger 

Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester 
and Camilla 

Southern (through prior merger 
with the Georgia Northern 

Dec. 31, 1971 

Georgia Northern 


Dec. 31, 1971 

Macon and Birmingham 



Macon, Dublin and Savannah 




Georgia Railroad 


Ocilla Southern 



Savannah and Atlanta 

Central of Georgia 1 

June 1, 1971 

South Georgia 

Southern (through prior merger 
with the Live Oak, Perry and Gulf 

Dec. 31, 1971 

Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia 


Jan. 1, 1971 

Wrightsville and Tennille 

Central of Georgia 

Junel, 1971 

'The Central of Georgia is controlled by the Southern Railroad. 

Source: Georgia Public Service Commission. 

"Manufacture" short lines were the most prominent among the 
types merged with Class I railroads. During the last year of operation 
prior to merger all but three of the short lines for which data are available 
were carriers of manufactured goods. Unlike the defunct short lines, the 
overwhelming majority of these companies (90 percent) were consistent 


from study year to study year in the types and admixtures of commodities 
that they carried. Only one, the Wrightsville and Tennille. showed signi- 
ficant variation from year to year. This company and the Tennessee, 
Alabama and Georgia were the only two short lines not to function con- 
sistently as either originators or receivers of goods during the selected 
study years. The majority of merged short lines functioned as receivers 
of goods and at least two were sub-typed as bridge lines. All four north 
Georgia short lines were receivers during their last year of operation 
as were two of the south Georgia companies. 


The 1978 map of Georgia's state-wide transportation network exhibits 
gaps that previously contained rail lines. The loss of more than 1,200 
miles of main line tracks in the last 60 years is directly attributable to 
the demise of short line railroads and is associated with both the spatial 
patterns and functional characteristics of those railroads. 

Short lines having tentacle routes were much more susceptible to 
failure than were those lines integrated in the state-wide network. Of the 
23 tentacle railroads operative in 1915 only three survive and none of the 
others were incorporated into a larger system. Two additional tentacle 
routes exist today as a result of right-of-way abandonment (the Valdosta 
Southern) and failure of a connecting short line (the Augusta Southern 
with the Sandersville). Of the five tentacle lines in 1978, two were owned 
by timber related companies and one was functionally associated with 
kaolin mining. 

Twenty-six short lines have been part of the state-wide rail net since 
1915. Of these, only three remain (five of the two tentacle routes that were 
once a part of the net are included). However, ten of the short lines in the 
state-wide network were incorporated into larger systems. The survival 
rate, therefore, was 50 percent for lines integral in the network and 13 
percent for companies with tentacle routes. 

Survival of short lines as independent operations or as parts of 
larger railroad systems is in part related to the types of commodities they 
carried. Short lines whose cargoes traditionally have been dominated 
by manufactured goods survived longer than those whose freight was 
predominantly forest or agricultural products. Seemingly more important 
to the survival of a short line than change in the commodity classification 
has been the consistency through time of the company to provide trans- 
portation for a particular commodity type or admixture of commodities. 
With the exception of several short lines owned by forest related industries, 
those short lines operational today or that have merged with larger systems 
typically were dependent on the movement of manufactured goods during 
each of the study years. Concomitantly, the consistency with which a 


short line functioned as an originator or receiver of goods has been more 
important to its survival than year to year change in function. 

Tentacle short lines that functioned as originators of forest products 
were the least viable of all the short lines. Certainly many of these were 
special purpose lines that reflected the economy of the areas along their 
routes. A listing of the places they served reveals that most were "saw 
mill" towns that do not exist today. As the timber was cut and as truck 
transportation became more feasible these lines ceased to operate. Because 
of their location and routing most were not attractive partners for mergers 
with larger railroads. On the other hand, companies that provided routes 
between cities that were (and are) focal points of regional growth and 
that had shown consistency in service were attractive to the larger rail 

Short lines have played a significant role in the development of the 
economies of the areas they served. Those that have survived into the 
1970s have done so because their routes are either integral to the statewide 
rail net or they serve a particular special interest. Their existence 
in the decade of the 1980s will continue to be dependent on these functional 
and spatial associations. 


1 William H. Wallace, "Freight Traffic Functions of Anglo-American Railroads," 
Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Sept. 1963) 

2 In 1956 a Class I railroad was defined as a company having annual operating 
revenues of $3,000,000 or more. The definition has been reworked several times 
since Wallace's study. Today a Class I railroad is one that hasoperating revenues 
greater than $50,000,000. 

3 Sy Reich, "Short Line Railroads in Georgia," Railroad Magazine (Nov. 1967) 

4 The classification of "balanced" can be determined in three ways: (1) The two 
leading commodities each amount to more than 20 percent but less than 40 percent 
of the total tonnage with 10 percent or less disparity between them. The third 
commodity must represent more than 20 percent of the total and have a five percent 
or less difference from the second commodity; (2) The first two commodities each 
total between 20 and 40 percent with a 10 percent or less disparity while the third 
and fourth commodities each amount to more than 15 percent with a 10 percent 
or less disparity between the second and third items; and (3) The first commodity 
totals between 30 and 40 percent while the second commodity represents between 
25 and 40 percent with less than 10 percent difference between the two. The third 
and fourth commodities combined must be greater than 25 percent. 

5 Wallace, 313-314. 

* Moody's Transportation Manual, 1978 (New York: Moody's Investors Ser- 
vice, 1978) 721. 

7 Report of the Savannah and Southern Railroad for 1915 to the Interstate Com- 
merce Commission. 



By Jeffrey R. Dobson and Roy Doyon 

The first commercial extraction of pine oleoresin in Georgia occurred 
in 1842. During the following six decades, the industry developed from 
a minor experimental enterprise to a predominant land-use form which 
annually brought millions of dollars to Georgia's Coastal Plain. This 
study attempts to characterize the industry and to assess its impact upon 
the region from the first known extraction in 1842 to around 1900 when 
expansion ceased. The industry's role in developing the region and changes 
within the industry during its expansion phase are emphasized in the 
analysis. Specific questions to be examined are: ( 1) Was the industry more 
significant, both economically and culturally, than is generally recognized? 
(2) Was the exploitative character of the industry compatible with contem- 
porary demands for cleared land for agriculture? (3) What factors most 
influenced the location of the industry during expansion? 

Since the answers to these questions vary throughout the study period, 
they are discussed in the context of a chronology of the industry's diffusion 
in Georgia. 


Gum naval stores (pine oleoresin) production was a major occupation 
in the North Carolina Coastal Plain from colonial time. Extraction began 
as early as 1665 and, after 1700, the colony became the major production 
center in North America. With cessation of naval stores production in 
New England around 1750, North Carolina was the western hemisphere's 
only cropping region for over a century. During this period, the only 
locational changes in the North Carolina industry were minor shifts of 
the cropping area. Large-volume production began in the Wilmington- 
Beaufort region around 1721, but because of technological destruction 
of trees, production shifted, by 1750, to the Washington-Albermarle 
Sound area. After 1800 North Carolina's production declined in the 
Washington-Albermarle region, and the producers began to move inland. 
Mobility of the industry was hampered by higher overland transport 
costs and by the requirement that processing could occur only in large 
distilleries at central locations. Economic recession after 1800 further 
depressed the industry in the Tarheel State. 

In the 1830s, dramatic changes revitalized North Carolina's naval 
stores industry. Mobile copper distilleries, which allowed bulk reduction 
before transport, were introducted in 1 834. Turpentine also was discovered 
to be an economical illuminator when mixed with alcohol, and it was 


needed as a solvent in the developing rubber industry as well. With increas- 
ing demand for turpentine, the stage was set for expansion of production 
into the vast longleaf pine forests from South Carolina to Texas. 

One key factor was responsible for maintaining production in North 
Carolina during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It was 
the popular myth which held that trees south of the Cape Fear River 
were unproductive of gum (oleoresin). By 1836 experiments exposed this 
myth for what it was, and by 1840 the Cape Fear River was no longer an 
artificial barrier. Production began in South Carolina that year and spread 
to Georgia in 1842. Extraction of gum occurred in Alabama and Florida 
by 1855 and in Mississippi and eastern Louisiana by I860. 1 

Coastal Georgia was ripe for naval stores cropping in the mid- 
nineteenth century. In 1842 the region's population was relatively sparse, 
and vast portions of the tidewater were still covered with large stands 
of virgin longleaf pine. Only two roads (and no railroads) traversed the 
area in 1842, and none was needed by oleoresin producers until after 
the Civil War when forested areas adjacent to streams had been cleared. 
Poor productivity of the sandy pine barrens reduced competition by 
plantation and yeoman agriculturists for labor throughout much of the 
Georgia Coastal Plain. Finally, social attitudes toward cropping as a 
demeaning activity, which earlier had prevailed outside North Carolina, 
were beginning to decline throughout the South and were of little con- 
sequence through the Civil War period since most naval stores' laborers 
were slaves. 

Even Georgia's legal codes contributed to the readiness of the state 
for extraction. A small-volume wood naval stores industry (tar and pitch 
recovered by slow combustion of felled timber) had existed in the state 
as early as 1744 and shipments were made to England in 1748. 2 British 
mercantilist policy resulted in a colonial law which established standards 
for packaging, marketing, and inspecting pitch, tar, turpentine, and other 
commodities. 1 The act of 1776 was adopted by the state's legislature upon 
independence and was modified and updated as needed prior to 1840. 
No modifications were required from 1840 to 1876 when extraction 
methods and classification became more refined. 


The industry's role in helping to settle the Georgia Coastal Plain 
is defined by its character during early expansion. Historians and chroni- 
clers of the industry differ in their interpretation of this role because 
they have applied regional or long-term generalizations to a process which 
differed considerably over area and through time. The industry has been 
characterized as a pioneer enterprise at the leading edge of the agricultural 
frontier. Such a thesis appears likely in North Carolina during the 1700s 
when yeomen farmers supplemented farm incomes through ancillary forest 
activities. Lands so cleared by destructive practices could be utilized 


more easily for agriculture and no doubt encouraged agricultural expan- 
sion. To some extent oleoresin producers thereby directed the course of 
agricultural development. 

In South Carolina during the early 1700s, wood naval stores were 
extracted by slaves during low agricultural work seasons. Perry points 
out, however, that labor requirements in planting and harvesting crops 
were incompatible with large-scale oleoresin production because the 
seasons of peak labor demand coincided. 4 The same conflict would have 
precluded such an arrangement in Georgia. The more likely variant is that 
a production unit involving a landowner and several slaves would have 
oleoresin extraction as a major goal much in the way that plantations 
featured agricultural activity. This arrangement was well suited to atti- 
tudes, cultural trends, and tenure patterns in Georgia's tidewater area. 5 
Finally, the activity in Georgia has been characterized as an industrial 
outgrowth of North Carolina's production complex. In this case, the 
industry would have been directed by conscious decision-makers from 
outside the state. These circumstances might inply either an infusion 
of capital from North Carolina or an exploitation of Georgia's pine barrens 
by non-Georgians. This latter thesis appears unlikely for the pre-Civil 
War period but bears investigation during the late 1800s when North 
Carolina's industry rapidly declined. 


The first instances of oleoresin extraction in Georgia occurred in 
the tidewater area south of Savannah where early producers relied upon 
inexpensive water transport for delivery to the Savannah market. Census 
schedules for 1850 suggest that extraction was first centered in Camden 
County (which then included most of present-day Charlton County) 
where six landowners engaged in the activity (Figure 1-A). Wayne and 
Mcintosh counties were less important, having only one producer each 
in 1850. With a few exceptions, the producers were young, single, native 
Georgians with moderate level estate holdings ($3,000 to $7,000). Of the 
eight recorded producers, five were slave owners with combined holdings 
of fifty-six male slaves between the ages of 12 and 60, and three had no 
slaves. Assuming that slave owners were managers rather than workers, 
the industry could have had fifty-nine workers in the three counties. 
Glynn County apparently had some production since two men in the 
county listed themselves as oleoresin managers; but they had no land 
and no slaves and most likely they worked for other landowners. 6 

The impact of oleoresin land use upon the settlement process in 
Georgia was probably small. Oleoresin croppng seldom cleared more than 
20 percent of the standing forest and lumbermen never cut cropped timber 
until well after the Civil War because of a prevalent belief that scarified 
trees made inferior lumber. 7 The most serious effect of oleoresin land 
use was unsightly islands of stunted, broken timber in a sea of healthy 




pines, sometimes interspersed with cut-over land and agricultural fields. 
Economic incentives for settling on land previously cropped for oleoresin 
were small compared to incentives for settling cut-over lands. Though 
clear-cutting seldom occurred before 1880. cut-over land contained many 
fewer windfalls and standing trees than cropped land. Even if settling 
was encouraged by cropping, the total area involved was probably small. 
If each of the 202 oleoresin workers recorded in the 1850 census had 
worked a standard tract of ten acres, only around 2,000 acres would have 
been cropped at this date. 

In 1850 the oleoresin industry in Georgia was of limited significance, 
contributing only $55,000 to the state's $7,000,000 gross manufacturing 
product. Oleoresin production was only significant in Camden County 
where much or all of the gross manufacturing product came from oleo- 
resin sales. 

From 1850 to 1860, the naval stores industry in Georgia grew in 
size and importance. The combined capital of oleoresin producers rose 
from $110,000 in 1850 to almost $200,000 in 1860 (Table 1). Although 
the number of establishments decreased from fourteen to twelve during 
the decade, the number of workers increased from 202 to 307. The expan- 
sion of capital and workers thus suggest that the industry became an 
important economic activity during its second decade in Georgia. 

The location of the cropping region changed little during the 1 850- 
1860 period except for addition of one small-volume producer in Ware 
County and cessation of gum activity in Glynn County (Figure 1 -A). 
Charlton County, formerly a part of Camden, was the major producer 
in 1860, in number of producers (five) and in production capacity 
($196,620). Camden County's one producer apparently comprised the 
largest single factility in Georgia with an investment of $45,750. 

The core production area clearly remained in coastal and near coastal 
counties with only a hint of the inland shift which was to occur later. 

Table 1 

Number of 


Number of 

Volume of 

Gross Manufacturing 




Wage Earners 


Product for the State 













116. 1 1 1 












1 .455.739 




















Source: United States Censuses. 

*Gross manufacturing product unknown, but capital investments were 53 percent of capital 
investments in 1850. 


Though the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad from Savannah to Thomasville 
was completed in 1860, its opening was too late to have affected signif- 
icantly the cropping distribution that year, and coastal waterways re- 
mained the major transport routes for oleoresin movement. 

In 1860, oleoresin production accounted for about 1.5 percent of 
Georgia's $17,000,000 gross manufacturing product. Though the percent- 
age is small, it was aquired on only 3,000 acres of land. Its influence was 
distinctly local and was confined largely to an economic impact upon 
the lives of a few individuals. No large corporate investments occurred 
to infuse capital into the region, and the volume of sales was too small 
to affect appreciably regional development. 

Cultural impacts on the region as a result of oleoresin activities 
were small at first because few people were involved; but to those who 
were part of the industry in the years following the formative stages, sig- 
nificant cultural changes began to occur. For example, during the 1850s 
the paternalistic camp system appeared in Georgia. By 1860 the standard 
working unit modeled upon the plantation system contributed much less 
to overall production than did the larger migratory work camps consisting 
of as many 100 slaves, a distillery, and a cluster of semi-permanent dwell- 
ings. The camp was a necessary adjustment to problems in economics of 
scale. Large units were more efficient, but they depleted larger areas and 
were forced to migrate continually. The migratory character of the indus- 
try thus coincides with the introduction of camps. Rapid turnover in 
active producers was a logical result of rapid depletion at the local level 
although large-area depletion would not occur for several decades. No 
listed producer of 1850 was still active in 1860. 

The transition from an indigenous to an non-indigenous industry 
was completed by 1860. In that year only three of eighteen Whites in the 
oleoresin industry were native born, and two of the three were young sons 
of a North Carolinian. Despite historical accounts of major migrations 
from North Carolina, it appears that more than half of Georgia's new- 
comers were from Virginia. ' ' There is little direct evidence to link the two 
phenomena, but it is known that relative agricultural decline in Virginia 
prior to the war caused out-migration. 12 Ward noted that during Recon- 
struction wealthy Virginians relocated and began turpentining (extracting 
oleoresin) in south Georgia. 13 Since oleoresin extraction ceased in Virginia 
after 1620, none of the migrants could have worked in the industry prior 
to migration. It is likely that such movements involved men with adequate 
capital who left an area in decline to seek opportunity in a growth industry 
located in a potentially more prosperous region. 


The Civil War almost totally obliterated oleoresin production in 
Georgia. Emancipation meant loss of capital and labor for the producers. 
Moreover, railroads were destroyed, shipping was halted, and markets 


were lost. And foreign production of naval stores increased during the 
conflict as Europeans sought to free themselves of dependence upon 
American oleoresin. In Georgia, the postwar industry, like the region, 
was in chaos. 14 In 1 870, only two counties were producing oleoresin. Three 
producers working in Charlton County and one in Pierce County were 
seeds of the post- War industry rather than remnants of pre-War develop- 
ment (Figure 1-A). By 1870 capital holdings of oleoresin producers de- 
clined from $200,000 in 1860 to $63,000; sales fell during this period from 
$236,000 to $95,000, and; the number of laborers dropped from 307 to 
138. 15 

Census schedules for 1870 list as turpentine workers only 42 of the 
138 wage earners in the industry; however, other workers may have listed 
themselves as "laborers" or they could have been recent migrants who 
failed to register as Georgia residents. Of the 42 persons listed, the majority 
were non-Georgians. Fourteen came from North Carolina, eight from 
Virginia, and five from other states. This small number of workers pre- 
cludes the possibility that Georgia's oleoresin work force was largely 
a relic of slavery. 

Information about the location of oleoresin activities in Georgia 
in 1870 suggest that coastal production was being closed out at this time 
and that inland production, dependent upon rail transport, was beginning 
to emerge as the more significant case. Pierce County, on the Atlantic 
and Gulf rail line, was the first of a new wave of oleoresin producing 
counties along the post-bellum rail network. Though Pierce County's 
volume of sales in 1870 was relatively low ($17,000), the $40,000 investment 
of a single producer indicates a change in scale of operation, and from 
this time on Georgia establishments exhibit a larger scale of activity than 
occurred in North and South Carolina. This change is significant because 
larger producers tended to be more exploitative. They often worked a 
tree for only two years before abandoning it because of declining yields 
in the third and fourth years. I6 North Carolina's trees declined at the same 
rate, of course, but the smaller operators there used each tree more inten- 
sively and over a longer period of time. Hence, Georgia's yields per crop 
were usually higher than those in other states. 

The greatest expansion of the Georgia industry occurred from 1870 
to 1900. Sales volumes rose from $95,000 to $8,000,000 in the thirty year 
span, with dramatic increases in evidence during each decennial census 
period. From 1870 to 1900, the industry virtually exploded in cropping 
area and in volume of sales, with the 1880 sales figure of $1,500,000 re- 
presenting four percent of the state's gross manufacturing product. Census 
returns for 1880 show oleoresin production being divided among thirteen 
counties throughout the southeastern and south central portions of the 
state (Table 2). With the exception of Mcintosh County and three counties 
on the edge of the longleaf range, every county along the region's three 
railroads was in production. Linear extensions of the industry spread 


Table 2 


Type & No. of 

Number of 


Value of 

Comparative Percentages* 







I apital 

No. of Emp. 



Oleoresin 9 








Other 6 









Oleorsin 6 








Other 2 

41.. MX) 








Oleoresin 4 











Oleoresin 1 








Other 5 









Oleoresin 2 








Other 71 









Oleoresin 1 








Other 2 

mm inn 








Oleoresin 6 








Other 6 









Oleoresin 1 








Other -1 









Oleoresin 2 








Olhei 11 



1 1 .645 






Oleoresin 8 








Other 4 









Oleoresin 5 








Other 3 









Oleoresin 2 








Other 4 









Oleoresin 13 








Other 7 









Oleoresin 6 








Other 6 









Oleoresin 66 








Other 1.14 


1 .378 






"Chatham County is atypical and is excluded in the computation of the total comparative percentages. 
Source: U.S. Census. 1880. 

outward along the Macon and Brunswick, the Brunswick and Albany, 
and the Atlantic and Gulf railroads (Figure 1-B). As evidence of the im- 
portance of rail access, counties without rail service failed to have any 
commercial oleoresin production. 17 

By 1880 lumbermen had discovered that cropped timber was equal 
to uncropped timber in suitability for lumber. The two enterprises — 
lumbering and oleoresin extraction — were finally compatible, and a 
management policy called "turpentining ahead of the cut" became pre- 
valent. 18 This change was the third in a series of seven innnovations which 
allowed the industry to survive at crucial times when it might otherwise 
have been forced into oblivion by voracious consumption of its basic 
resource, timber. The first innovation was the shift from combustion 
recovery to oleoresin extraction in the early 1700s. The second was devel- 
opment of the copper still, which reduced transport costs and allowed 
more extensive exploitation. After "turpentining ahead of the cut," a 


series of innovations were developed, including the clay pot, the metal 
cup, acid applications, and double-headed nails. If compatibility had 
not been achieved by the two industries during the late nineteenth century, 
oleoresin production would have been unable to compete effectively 
with lumbering. 19 

Census schedules for 1880 refute the most widely accepted inter- 
pretation of the origin of Georgia's oleoresin labor force. The concensus 
that Georgia's Black laborers were derived from the slave labor force of 
the declining North Carolina industry is not supported by the evidence. 
Most of the workers were indeed migrants, but forty percent of them came 
from states other than North Carolina (Figure 2). The Blacks who mi- 
grated from North Carolina were predominantly young men who were 
pre-adolescent in 1860. Since production declined dramatically after 1860 
and slavery ceased in 1865, it is impossible for North Carolinians to have 
worked in the industry as slaves. 20 In further contrast to the concensus, 
as late as 1880 the number of migrants from North Carolina was equaled 
or exceeded by migrants from Virginia where no commerical oleoresin 
extraction had occurred since 1620. The conclusion is inescapable. 
Georgia's oleoresin work force did not originate in a former slave oleo- 
resin work force in North Carolina or anywhere else. The workers un- 
doubtedly were young, poorly educated Blacks who viewed oleoresin 
work as suitable employment. Despite labor shortages throughout the 
South in the Reconstruction period, young Blacks freely chose to enter 
the turpentine trade. The industry may have enjoyed advantages over 
other employment, especially agriculture, because: (1) special skills were 
not required, yet pay was adequate and fringe benefits were good; (2) work 
in the pine barrens offered a measure of freedom not found in most other 
jobs, and; (3) forest work bore fewer resemblances to plantation agri- 
culture which for many former slaves was synonymous with servitude. 
Additionally, though work was hard and employers demanding, the 
extensive nature of the industry meant that supervision was often poor. 
Shelton notes that workers could take advantage of employers by be- 
coming indebted to them and running away. 21 This is in contrast to agri- 
cultural operations where indebtedness often resulted in a lifetime of 
peonage for the sharecropper or tenant farmer. Life in the turpentine 
camps was viewed by many whites as a picturesque, communal existence 
for Blacks. It is unclear whether the Blacks shared this feeling. The camp 
offered a simple, secure existence which may have appealed to those who 
felt trepidation about the White world around them. The patronage system 
offered cradle-to-grave security for workers, and employers acted as 
adversaries for their employees in the outside world. Whatever the basis 
for their decisions, it is likely that, given their educational status, Blacks 
chose the industry for positive rather than negative considerations. 
Clearly, without strong positive inducements, employers never could 
have attracted the thousands of young workers who entered the industry 
from 1870 to 1900. 




INDUSTRY 1870-1880 

/ VA ^^ 

NC A J » 

sc yH a 

r j \/^ 

i \\v, 

/ ^ x \ \ga yf 

V" ^ * jp 


<2> ( 

\ ™40 




Figure 2. 

Ward describes the process of out-of-state labor recruitment around 
1880 as follows: 22 

At the close of each year's work the turpentine men would go 

back to the Carolinas and secure negroes by the train loads. 

They would unload . . . and haul the negroes and their families 

out to the stills and deposit them in cabins prepared for them. 

The employers apparently sought Carolinians as laborers because they 

had problems in quality control with the Georgia work force. 23 This might 

lead one to assume that workers attracted to Georgia were familiar with 

oleoresin production in the Carolinas before they migrated. The fact is 

that after 1860 there was an insufficient number of laborers in North 

Carolina and South Carolina combined to account for all the workers 

entering the Georgia industry, even if worker mortality and attrition 

are ignored (Table 3). 


Table 3 




















Source: United States Censuses. 

The question of the origin of Georgia's 19,000 workers in 1900, 
therefore, remains open. Undoubtedly, many were brought in from the 
Carolinas, but it is impossible for a high percentage of the workers to 
have worked in the Carolina industry. Furthermore, if the majority of 
Georgia's workers came from the Carolinas as some writers contend, 
they could not have been experienced workers as the employers seemed 
to think. 24 On the other hand, if all the migrant Carolinians were expe- 
rienced workers, migrants from those states could not have formed a 
high percentage of Georgia's labor force because of the limited extent 
of oleoresin production and employment opportunities in the Carolinas 
at this time. Either the writers are incorrect concerning the percentage 
of Carolinians in the Georgia industry, or the employers were importing 
bogus workers. An examination of census schedules in 1900 indicates 
that many of the workers were, in fact, native Georgians. Additionally, 
leased convict laborers accounted for more than five percent of the total 
labor force. 25 

Expansion of Georgia's oleoresin industry continued as new rail 
lines and later tramways extended rail access throughout the pine bar- 
rens. 26 In 1890 the industry consisted of 228 establishments, 10,000 
laborers, and a total capital investment of almost $700,000. Sales exceeded 
$4,000,000. At the turn of the century the number of establishments had 
increased to 524 with 19,000 wage earners and a capital investment of 
$3,800,000. Statewide oleoresin income was over $8,000,000 eight percent 
of the state's gross manufacturing product. 27 Expansion throughout 
Georgia's pine barrens was virtually complete by 1 890 as the rail network 
reached every county in the region (Figure 1-C). After 1887, when the 
state approved measures allowing rights-of-way for private tramways, 
every part of the naval stores region had access to rail transport. 28 This 
allowed more rapid exploitation of the pine barrens than previously had 
been possible. In 1900, 39 counties reported oleoresin operations, and 
all of these had railroad connections. 


As suggested earlier, oleoresin production had a significant impact 
upon the State of Georgia from 1870 to well after 1900. The main reason 
for this impact lies not in the volume of transactions, but in the location 
of the industry. The activity took place in those areas of the state where 
other economic possibilities were minimal, and forest enterprises provided 
a major impetus to the development of the vast almost untapped region. 
Towns and cities benefited from oleoresin processing and distribution, 
often in the absence of other manufacturing. The development of Savan- 
nah as a prosperous port city depended in part upon its status as the oleo- 
resin market of the world; and for many counties in coastal Georgia, 
oleoresin sales were the only source of manufacturing income. 29 

Capital investments from outside the state benefited the region too, 
because many investors came into the state and remained as lifelong 
residents, and profits were seldom taken from the state by absentee devel- 
opers. Turpentine men, as producers were called, often became wealthy 
counterparts to the aristocratic planters and frequently engaged in local 
developments as financiers or philanthropists. There is little doubt 
that regional development of the pine barrens was greatly advanced by 
the presence of the industry. 

At the turn of the century Georgia's oleoresin industry consumed 
over 250,000 acres of new pine lands each year. Along with clear-cut 
lands which were not "turpentined before the cut" this rate of exploitation 
led to total decimation of the state's majestic virgin stands of longleaf pine. 
By 1908 when oleoresin production peaked, landowners had become aware 
of the folly in destructive turpentining. Lease prices amounted to as much 
as $1,500 per crop per year (compared to as little as $100 per crop a few 
years earlier). Other production areas in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, 
Louisiana, and Texas, which were still stocked with virgin timber, drew 
the industry from the state until their pines were also depleted. Georgia's 
production could not rebound until the 1920s when second-growth timber 
reached workable size, and the clear-cut areas of the 1880s became an 
unexpected asset which allowed rebirth of the industry in the 1920s. 


Historical records and literature adequately depict the course of the 
pine oleoresin industry. The foregoing analysis, based upon these sources, 
provides answers to the three questions in the introduction. The first 
question concerning the economic and cultural significance of the industry 
consists of two parts which are considered separately. 

The first part of question one concerns the economic significance of 
the industry. The industry was relatively insignificant until 1870, except 
at a very local scale, but by 1 880 it had become a major force in the develop- 
ment of Coastal Georgia. Capital inputs were small compared to Georgia's 
total manufacturing investments but returns were good and profits re- 
mained in the region since producers usually migrated and became long- 


term residents. The industry's location was strategic because it occupied 
a poorly developed region with low agricultural potential. Regional 
development was facilitated by oleoresin income and oleoresin processing 
brought industry to an industry-poor section of the state. 

The first question also deals with the cultural significance of turpen- 
tining. During expansion in Georgia, the industry rapidly changed from 
small-scale operations based upon the plantation system to industrial 
concerns with the naval stores camp as the basic production unit. The 
camps formed a distinct cultural feature which may have eased former 
slaves' transition into free society. The industry appears to have been a 
suitable employment opportunity for young Blacks rather than a job of 
last resort. Producers did not capitalize upon a residual slave labor force 
from the pre-War industry from the Carolinas as depicted by some 
authors. Rather, they recruited laborers from outside the industry both 
in Georgia and the Carolinas, and when labor demand was highest they 
leased Georgia convicts to supplement the labor force. Turpentining 
was indeed of cultural significance in the region, but its importance is 
limited in that it affected only a small portion of the Black population 
of the state and an even smaller portion of the White population. Cultur- 
ally, turpentining was most significant during the last three decades of 
the nineteenth century when the industry was large and the camp system 

The second question concerns the exploitative nature of the industry. 
Oleoresin probably contributed little toward the clearing of agricultural 
land before 1880. After 1880 operations became compatible with lumber- 
ing and were less destructive than in prior years. Where "turpentining 
ahead of the cut" was not practiced exploitation continued because 
lumber operations were clearing more land that was being utilized for 
agriculture. When not coincident with lumbering turpentining damaged 
or destroyed millions of acres of Georgia's forest resources. The loss 
was not apparent until depletion of the longleaf pine occurred shortly 
after 1900. A contemporary factor resulting from this damage was early 
regeneration of second growth timber necessary for revitalization of the 
industry thirty to fifty years later. There is little doubt that the industry 
was exploitative in nature during expansion in Georgia, but there is no 
evidence to suggest that forest land damaged by turpentining was utilized 
for agriculture in sufficient quantity to offset the loss of the forest resource. 

The third question asks which factors most affected location of the 
industry within the region. At the regional scale, availibility of labor 
in the pine barrens was the overriding factor which allowed the industry 
to enter Georgia's forests. At the local scale, however, access to market 
remained the most crucial location factor throughout the expansion era. 
Prior to the Civil War, water access was vital to the industry. By 1880, 
most coastal areas had been cleared of timber and rail lines crossed the 
region. From 1880 to 1900 the industry was directed by rail expansion 


throughout the pine barrens. Wherever virgin longleaf pines and rail 
lines coexisted, oleoresin production occurred. Where there were no rail 
lines, the trees remained untapped. 

The foregoing analysis is illuminating, but it is far from complete. 
The oleoresin industry deserves continued research by geographers, 
historians, economists, and other scholars and scientists. Like a fallen 
empire, a once-great industry in decline offers hope of lessons to be learned 
from experience. Expansion of the industry in Georgia may parallel 
growth of similar industries in developing economies the world over. 
As for academic interest in the industry per se, recent developments such 
as the renewed search for alternative hydrocarbon resources caused by 
petroleum depletion and price increases may someday reverse historical 
trends of decline. The scientific community should be prepared with a 
full understanding of pertinent aspects of this and other resource-related 
industries. Studies such as this one should contribute to such an under- 


1 United States Census, 1880, special report on Forests of North America, 
p. 516. 

2 Donald Martin, "An Historical and Analytical Approach to the Current Pro- 
blems of the American Gum Naval Stores Industry," unpublished Ph.D disserta- 
tion (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: 1942), p. 83. 

3 Oliver H. Prince, comp., A Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia, Oliver 
H. Prince (Athens: 1837), p. 814. 

4 Percival Perry, "The Naval Stores Industry in the Ante-Bellum South, 1789- 
1861," unpublished Ph.D dissertation (Duke University: 1947), p. iii. 

5 Percival Perry, "The Naval Stores Industry in the Old South, 1790 to 1860," 
The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 34 (Nov., 1968) p. 516. 

6 United States Census, 1850, passim. 

7 Martin, op cit., p. 92. 

K Area of land utilized is estimated on the basis of 300 barrels per crop of 10,000 
faces occupying 200 acres of land. Since crops were worked three to four years, 
about 35 percent of the total acreage had to be newly invaded each year. Census 
ligures should be viewed as indicating general levels of production. Reliability 
could not always be assured because of the "backwoods" nature of the industry. 
y United States Census, 1850, passim. 
111 United States Census, 1860, passim. 

11 Ibid. 

12 Virginius Dabney, Virginia: The New Dominion, Doubleday and Co., Inc. 
(New York: 1971), pp. 275-281. 

13 Warren P. Ward, Ward's History of Coffee County, The Reprint Company, 
Publishers (Spartanburg, S.C.: 1978), p. 313. 


14 Report of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1892, U.S. Government Printing Office 
(Washington, D.C.: 1893), p. 335. 

15 United States Census, 1870, passim. 

16 United States Census, 1880, op. tit., p. 517. 

17 Martin, op. cit., p. 78. 

18 Rupert B. Vance, Human Geography of the South, 2nd ed., Russell and Russell 
(New York: 1968), p. 121; Report of the Secretary of Agriculture, op. cit. pp 

19 United States Census, 1880, op cit.. p. 51 7 and Report of the Secretary of Agri- 
culture, op. cit., p. 331. 

20 Even if all 6,000 slaves in the industry in 1860 had remained active in 1880,3,000 
new non-slave workers would have been added to the industry. 

21 Jane Twitty, Shelton, Pines and Pioneers, a History of Lowndes County, 
Georgia, 1825-1900, Cherokee Publishing Company (Atlanta: 1976), p. 202. 
Of course, peonage did occur, Shelton points out that most workers owed their 
employer $200 to $300. In order to acquire a new worker, an employer would 
usually pay off the worker's debts to the former employer. Economic demands for 
a worker's services thereby alleviated some of the restraints of indebtedness. 
Recruitment by "outsiders" was considered deplorable and numerous local 
ordiances were passed to control "enticement" of workers. 

22 Ward, op cit., pp. 312-313. 
21 Shelton, op. cit., p. 184. 

24 I hid., p. 312. 

25 Fourth Annual Report of the Prison Commission of Georgia, J.F. Lester 
(Atlanta: 1901), p. 37-38. 

26 John L. Hopkins, comp. The Code of 'the State of Georgia, Vol. 1, Foote and 
Davies Co. (Atlanta: 191 1), p. 210; Jefferson Dixon, "Georgia Railroad Growth 
and Consolidation, 1 880-1917, "Unpublished Master's thesis (Emory University: 
1949), p. 49. 

27 United States Census, 1890, passim. 

28 Hopkins, op. cit., p. 210; Dixon, op. cit., p. 49-50. 

29 Martin, op. cit., pp. 86-87. 

30 Shelton, op cit., p. 312; Ward, op cit., pp. 311-313. 






By Burke G. Vanderhill and Frank A. Unger 

Florida came into American hands well after the establishment of 
the United States and General Land Office, and her public lands were 
surveyed on the familiar GLO grid. Within a narrow strip of territory 
along Florida's land boundary with the state of Georgia, however, there 
are survey units which do not conform to the GLO system. Examination 
reveals that these tracts are fragments of Georgia land lots overlapping 
the Florida line, a fact clearly suggesting a jurisdictional dispute and a 
boundary adjustment. 1 Despite its significance for landholding and field 
patterns and for road alignment, the survey anomaly along Florida's 
northern margin — the so-called "Georgia Fractions" — is not widely 
recognized nor understood today. 2 The present study sought to explain 
the phenomenon through an investigation of the genesis of the Georgia- 
Florida land boundary and of the controversies which accompanied its 
demarcation. 3 

The boundary between Georgia and Florida as it stands is drawn 
from the 31st parallel of latitude along the channel of the Chattahoochee 
River to its junction with the Flint, then in what aproximates a straight 
line overland to the head of the St. Marys, whose course it follows to 
the Atlantic. It was so fixed initially by the Royal Proclamation of George 
III in 1763 when, as a result of British acquisition of Florida after the 
French and Indian War, it became necessary to establish the northern 
limits of the new province of East Florida in an area long plagued by 
conflicting Spanish and British territorial claims. The boundary was 
affirmed in 1783 by the Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the 
United States following the Revolutionary War, under which Florida 
was returned to Spain, and reaffirmed in 1795 by the Treaty of San 
Lorenzo between the United States and Spain. 

Although it had formed a portion of an international boundary since 
1783, the geometric line from the mouth of the Flint to the head of the 
St. Marys had not been surveyed. Worse, the middle and upper reaches 
of the St. Marys were only vaguely known and the source of the stream 
had not been determined. Such questions were addressed in the 1795 
treaty, which authorized the appointment of a commissioner and a sur- 
veyor for each of the two concerned parties, the United States and Spain, 
and directed them to run and mark the Spanish-American boundary as 
delineated. The commissioners were further instructed to ". . . make plats 
and keep journals of their proceedings, which shall be considered as a 


part of this convention, and shall have the same force as if they were 
inserted therein." 4 The latter proviso was to have special significance when, 
at a later date, the alignment of the land boundary between Georgia and 
Florida was in question. 

Implementing the boundary provisions of the Treaty of San Lorenzo 
in 1796, Andrew Ellicott and Captain Esteban Minor were appointed 
commissioners on behalf of the United States and Spain, respectively, 
to run and mark the Spanish-American boundary from the Mississippi 
River eastward to the mouth of the St. Marys. By late 1799 the line had 
been marked as far as the junction of the Chattahoochee and the Flint, 
but Indian harassment near that point forced the Ellicott-Minor party 
to proceed to the lower St. Marys by sea. During January and February 
of 1800, at a time of high water, they ascended and mapped the river and 
found that the main channel issued from the Okefenokee Swamp at its 
southern margin. A survey mound — since known as "Ellicott's Mound" 
was placed "on the west side of the main outlet as near to the edge of the 
swamp as . . . (they) could advance on account of the water." 5 The head 
of the river was identified as being a point in what was estimated to be 
mid-channel, "640 perches" (two miles) N. 45°E of the mound. 6 After 
astronomically determining the latitude and longitude of the mound 
and calculating it for the point in the river, the commissioners withdrew 
from the St. Marys to prepare their report without running the ground 
survey of the Ellicott-Minor line (Figure 1). 

31 o N 1\ y GEORGIA 

"*v y r,„ Ol 

^T Jii'^'t-Mmor une.nn, 

' Sou rce" 
St Marys 
N 45°E 

miles from 

Mound B^' 

v5 i 



^y \ ^r^-rrv. FLORIDA 

4| .% 

w A&^^ ^\ 

'$&-G^FZc. h£^ Nv. 

Jy ^v" 

"**- '-a 

-Jl \ 

Georgia-Florida \ 

Land Boundary Survey vV 

1800 % 

>y -? ^ 

Figure 1. 


An approximate landward boundary line could now be drawn based 
on a calculated angular bearing using the spherical coordinates of the 
two termini; the junction of the Flint and Chattahoochee and the "source" 
of the St. Marys. The eastern end of the line was to run approximately 1.4 
miles north of and to the point two miles northeast of Ellicott's Mound. 
Ellicott stipulated in his record that the eventual surveyed line should be 
no less than one mile north of the mound, and if this were not the case, 
the line should be resurveyed to correct it. 7 

The failure of Ellicott and Minor to run the line and the offset 
between the survey mound and the inaccessible point designated as the 
true head of the St. Marys River left the boundary issue unsettled. 

The Georgia-Florida boundary was given little attention by the 
United States government as long as Florida remained a Spanish posses- 
sion. The fact that it was unmarked became a matter of concern to the state 
of Georgia, however, for in 1802 the Creek lands west of the Indian 
Boundary were ceded to the state and, subsequently, were opened to 
settlement under state auspices. As Georgia's land lot survey proceeded 
the need for an established southern boundary became more critical. 
In 1816 the Georgia Legislature requested the Governor to urge the federal 
government to fix and mark a line from the mouth of the Flint to the 
head of the St. Marys. 8 

At this point came the first challenge to the Ellicott-Minor line. 
William Cone, a Georgia legislator with personal knowledge of the St. 
Marys, claimed in 1817 that Ellicott was mistaken and that an accurate 
survey would indicate that the true source of the river was the head of 
its middle prong, about twenty miles south of Ellicott's Mound. The 
Georgia Legislature authorized Governor William Rabun to appoint 
commissioners to investigate the matter and in 1818 Major Generals 
Wiley Thompson and John Floyd and Brigadier General David Black- 
shear were named for this purpose. Their party visited the upper St. 
Marys during a relatively dry period and could find no direct linkage 
between the river and the Okefenokee Swamp. Nevertheless, after ex- 
ploring the area, they reported early in 1819 that in their opinion "Mr. 
Ellicott and the Spanish deputation were correct in establishing on the 
northern branch the point of demarcation between the state of Georgia 
and the province of East Florida." 9 

Meanwhile, the federal government had responded to Georgia's 
request for a boundary survey by directing Wilson Lumpkin, then engaged 
in boundary work in northern Georgia, to run a provisional line from 
the Flint to the St. Marys, but in early 1819, with the accession of Florida 
in the offing, Lumpkin's survey was suspended before much had been 
accomplished. 10 Thereupon, on May 1, 1819, Governor Rabun appointed 
Dr. William Greene to establish a "temporary" boundary in order that 
district survey parties might extend the land lot surveys to the southern 
margins of Georgia." 


Dr. Greene surveyed his line in a more southeasterly direction from 
the western terminus toward the middle prong of the St. Marys. He billed 
the state of Georgia for his services in October, 1819, although it is not 
clear how far the line was run or how continuous it was. 12 His survey 
directly influenced the land lot surveys in four of the eight borderline 
Georgia Land Districts: the 21st and 22nd Districts of then Early County 
and the 14th and 16th Districts of then Irwin County all were carried 
south, over the Ellicott-Minor line, to the Greene line; the 23rd District 
of Early, the 15th District of Irwin, and the 13th and 1 1th Districts of then 
Appling were surveyed to the "Florida line," which followed the angle 
of the Ellicott-Minor line 13 (Figure 2). The Greene survey was viewed 
as highly inaccurate, cutting deeply into the territory of Florida, and 
in March, 1820, the new governor, John Clark was advised to appoint a 
more skilled surveyor for the task. 14 


A R L Y 


Georgia Land Lot District Surveys 
Florida-Georgia Li ne 


Figure 2. 

Under pressure to open the land lottery in south Georgia as soon 
as possible. Governor Clark on April 28, 1820, appointed Colonel James 
C. Watson to run and mark a more accurate boundary. Watson completed 
his assignment very quickly, for final payment for his services was autho- 
orized early in June of that year. Unfortunately, Watson's survey maps 
and notes have been lost; in fact there is no record that they were ever 
filed, and there has been much confusion in regard to the eastern portion 
of the Watson line. Governor Clark made it clear, however, that Watson 
carried the line further than he was required to with respect to the up- 
coming lottery, and that he ran the line from the junction of the Flint 
and Chattahoochee a distance of "one hundred and eighteen miles, forty- 
six chains and fifty links" to a point a short distance east of the line dividing 
the counties (as then constituted) of Irwin and Appling 15 (Figure 3). To 
have stopped at such a point seems illogical, but when the stated distance 


is scaled off along Watson's line as identified on later maps it appears 
that he terminated his survey on the western rim of a large swamp within 
what is now Hamilton County, Florida. 

Contemporary questions surrounding the Watson line stem in part 
from the fact that in 1821 it was extended by the District Surveyor across 
the southern limit of the 13th District of then Appling County, and this 
extension subsequently appears on recorded surveys as Watson's line. 
Charles F. Smith, in a re-survey of the Watson line in 1874, further ex- 
tended if from the southeast corner of the 13th District to the St. Marys, 
which it intersected some distance south of Ellicott's Mound (Figure 3). 
John A. Henderson, who re-surveyed the land within the boundary zone 
in 1879, traced the Watson line east to the boundary between districts 
13 and 11 of Appling County, then, ignoring Smith's survey, offset to 
the McNeil line of 1825 (discussed below), following that line to the St. 
Marys. 16 For reasons unknown, the segment of the McNeil line between 
the district boundary and Ellicott's Mound so identified by Henderson 
now appears labelled on various official Florida maps as the Watson 
line, continuing the confusion. 

The Watson survey was meant to expedite the land lot surveys of 
south Georgia in preparation for the land lotteries. It was authorized 
unilaterally by the state of Georgia to resolve what was considered a 
pressing problem. Although never officially recognized outside of Georgia, 
the Watson line assumed critical significance as land was patented along 
it under Georgia laws without reference to possible Florida rights. 

While the land lotteries were under way in southwestern Georgia, 
settlers were also beginning to enter the new Florida territory, claiming 
tracts there described by the method of metes and bounds. An organized 


A P P L I 

N G 



13th Dist. 

llth Dist 

- Sj ^^hjJju LL _j85g^ 


M_cN_ej_ [1825 ' 

Watson t 78?0 



E 1 1 1 co tt s 


/~~--~^^ Watson Line 
/ ~~ Surveyed by Dist. — " 
/ Surveyor in 1821 
Watson survey 
termi nation 
118 m iles. 46chs. 50 Iks 
east of western 

Smith resurvey 1874 Z. 
Watson Line extension // 




Eastern Area 


Georgia-Flor i da 

Land Border 

N o 1 to scale 

Figure 3. 

survey was needed badly, and in 1823 the base line and principal meridian 
for a GLO grid were established, intersecting within what was to become 
the city of Tallahassee. Initial settlement was concentrated between the 
Apalahicola and Suwanee rivers — an area later termed "Middle Flor- 
ida" — and the extension of township surveys to their northern limits 
had high priority. 

The U.S. Surveyor General for Florida was authorized in late 1824 
to run a boundary line from the mouth of the Flint to Ellicott's Mound 
and to survey public lands to that line. In the spirit of the Treaty of San 
Lorenzo and of the Spanish-American agreement of 1819, whereby 
Florida became part of the United States, it was noted that Ellicott's 
Mound ". . . must be taken and considered as one of the fixed points in 
the boundary line between Georgia and Florida whether it may actually 
be north or south of the true point or not." 17 D.F. McNeil was appointed 
on February 12, 1825 to conduct the boundary survey, and the line was 
run in ensuing months. The McNeil line lay north of the Watson line, 
the distance reaching nearly a mile at its maximum. Subsequent Florida 
land surveys were closed upon the McNeil line for much of its length, 
although two townships (T3N, R3W and T3N, R3E) were extended only 
to the Watson line. 

Fractional sections made upon the Watson line were to be reserved 
from sale until the boundary question was resolved. 18 The McNeil line 
served Florida as a de facto boundary for many years, however, and lands 
platted to that line were alienated with little apparent regard for Georgia 
patents already issued. 19 Thus, the Georgia-Florida boundary dispute 
was not solely a disagreement over alignment but involved the problem 
of overlapping land titles. 

The McNeil survey was noted with alarm in Georgia and was vig- 
orously protested. At the request of Georgia, and in the hope of settling 
the issue, a Congressional Act of 1826 authorized the survey and marking 
of a dividing line between Georgia and Florida. To the consternation 
of Georgia, however, the act stipulated that the line ". . . shall be run 
straight from the junction of said rivers Chattahoochie (sic) and Flint 
to the point designated as the head of St. Mary's River by the Commis- 
sioners appointed under the 3rd article of the Treaty of San Lorenzo." 20 
Thus, Ellicott's determination was given the force of law. 

To implement the Act of 1826, Thomas M. Randolph was appointed 
commissioner on behalf of the United States, and Thomas Spalding was 
named commissioner for Georgia. Having engaged John W. McBride as 
surveyor, the Randolph-Spalding party began its work in March, 1827, 
from a point one mile due north of Ellicott's Mound. Despite the apparent 
reluctance of Georgians Spalding and McBride, a random line was to be 
run to the mouth of the Flint, and a true line was to be marked from that 
point back to the St. Marys. In a report to Governor George M. Troup 
of Georgia, Spalding had expressed concern for the reaction of settlers 


to a third boundary survey within seven years and had raised the question 
of possible "feuds between Georgia and Florida." 21 Unhappy with the 
new line, which in places was a full two miles north of the McNeil line, 
Governor Troup recalled Spalding when the survey party was about 
forty miles from the junction of the Flint and the Chattahoochee and 
unilaterally suspended the operation pending the results of a survey he 
had ordered McBride to make of the "true head" of the St. Marys. 

Although Georgia's surveyors had been withdrawn, the line was 
completed to the river junction under Randolph's supervision and the 
return line was marked to Ellicott's Mound, judged by Randolph to be 
the most logical eastern terminus. The Randolph line was not adopted, 
but his reports are noteworthy. He found Ellicott's coordinates at the 
river junction to be in error, and that Watson and McNeil had not quite 
closed upon Ellicott's western terminus. Further, it was noted that their 
terminal marks were visible on trees which were standing in water at the 
time of the Randolph survey, revealing the effect of river level upon the 
precise point of confluence. Randolph found the "true" junction of the 
rivers — where they merged at high water — to be a mile north of that 
marked by Watson and McNeil. He also expressed the opinion that Ellicott 
was right in his identification of the Okefenokee as the source of the 
St. Marys. 22 

Meanwhile, McBride had concluded his field examination of the 
upper St. Marys and reported that on the basis of stream velocity the 
"south branch" (actually the middle branch) was the principal one. This 
branch is spring-fed and relatively constant in flow while the north prong 
is highly variable. At the time of McBride's visit, the north branch was 
nearly dry. 23 

McBride's report fueled Georgia's argument for a boundary redefini- 
tion, and on December 14, 1827, the Georgia General Assembly passed 
an act prohibiting the survey of territory between the Ellicott line and 
a future "true" line to be run to the proper head of the St. Marys; i.e., Lake 
Randolph, the source of the middle branch. The act stipulated that any 
land grants from the United States within the territory would be validated 
provided that the United States compensate the state of Georgia for such 
land within two years of running and marking the dividing line. 24 

The boundary question was referred to Congress in 1828 and a 
vigorous exchange of communications followed in which Georgia's re- 
futation of and Florida's support for the Ellicott line were elaborated. 
Georgia's position in brief was that Congress had acted in 1826 in the 
erroneous belief that the point designated by Ellicott was the source of 
the St. Marys and that this error should be corrected. Among the argu- 
ments presented was one based upon the wording of the Royal Com- 
mission for Governor Sir James Wright, dated January 20, 1764, which 
confirmed his jurisdiction down to the "most southern stream" of the 
St. Marys. Given the state of geographic knowledge in 1764, this may 


have referred to a distributary at the mouth of the river, but Georgia chose 
to interpret it in terms of the headwaters. Florida contended that it was 
strange that Georgia sat idle for 33 years while the border was drawn upon 
the Ellicott coordinates. Now that people were interested in the land, 
a spurious claim was being advanced and strongly promoted. The Com- 
mittee of the Judiciary concluded, however, that Ellicott was correct 
in using what had always been considered locally the main course of the 
St. Marys and, therefore, his designated point ought to be the terminus 
of the boundary. 25 No further action was taken at this time. 

Dissatisfied with the congressional response, the Georgia Legislature 
in 1830 approved a resolution demanding that the boundary be run from 
the Flint and Chattahoochee "to the head of the most southern branch 
of the St. Marys and that the said line ought to be marked without further 
delay." 26 By the spring of 1831, Joel Crawford and J. Hamilton Couper 
had been appointed commissioners to oversee the new boundary survey 
on behalf of Georgia, and E.L. Thomas had been engaged as surveyor. 
By mid-August a random line had been run from a point on the southern 
shore of Lake Randolph (also called Ocean Pond) to the mouth of the 
Flint and a corrected line had been marked back to Lake Randolph (Figure 
4). The Crawford-Couper report confirmed that the St. Marys arises 
in the Okefenokee but insisted that the north prong is but a tiny stream 
dry at low water stages and that the "Ocean Pond drainage is the superior 
one." It was termed "negative evidence of some weight" that local residents 
in the upper St. Marys area spoke of all of the streams as branches or 
prongs of the St. Marys, and it was suggested that Ellicotfs selection of 
the north branch "would have tended to confirm to that stream the sole 
and exclusive title of the St. Marys River, despite the practice of people 
to think of it as the 'north branch'." 27 

Congress was under pressure from Georgia for a number of years 
afterwards to designate the Crawford-Couper line as the boundary be- 
tween Georgia and Florida, but the matter did not emerge from committee. 
If the claim of Georgia had been sustained, a triangular tract containing 
over 1,500,000 acres of land would have been taken from Florida, much 
of it occupied. 

Florida played a minor role in the boundary controversy until state- 
hood was achieved, but shortly thereafter, late in 1845, resolutions were 
approved in the legislatures of both Florida and Georgia authorizing 
the appointment of commissioners to settle the dispute. John Branch and 
William P. Duval were named by Florida, while Crawford and Couper 
were appointed on the part of Georgia. The commissioners met in March, 
1846, but disagreed on the objective of their mission. The position of 
Florida was that the eastern terminus of the boundary was already legally 
established and, therefore, was not in question, whereas Georgia insisted 
that the true head of the St. Marys had yet to be determined and that 
such a determination was a necessary first step. 


■AJ.nS_.to_fjJjcott's Mound 

' eor 9/a 7854 

Georgia-Florida Surveys 1854 

Figure 4. 

Failing to reach an accord with Florida, Georgia in 1847 asked the 
Supreme Court of the United States to review the boundary question 
in the light of the Treaty of San Lorenzo, particularly questioning the 
validity of Ellicott's designated terminus at the St. Marys. Independently 
of Georgia, Florida filed a bill in the Supreme Court early in 1849 asking 
that body to "confirm and quiet" the boundary line. 28 Several years of 
sometimes acrimonious debate between the governors of Florida and 
Georgia ensued. 29 

An Interlocutory Degree was handed down by the Supreme Court 
in April, 1854, authorizing the governor of each state to appoint a com- 
missioner and a surveyor to determine and mark the Georgia-Florida 
boundary. Florida appointed Benjamin F. Whitner as commissioner 


and his son, Benjamin F. Whitner, Jr., became his surveyor. Alexander 
A. Allen was appointed commissioner for Georgia, and James R. Butts 
was named surveyor. Apparently, independent of the Florida group, 
Allen and Butts had resurveyed the Crawford-Couper line and surveyed 
another line which terminated at the junction of Little River and the West 
or Middle Branch of the St. Marys. 10 The new line lay north of the Craw- 
ford-Couper line but south of where the line would be run by the Com- 
missioners were it to run to Ellicott's Mound. Butts designated it the 
"true line" in what was probably another attempt to settle on a more 
southerly source of the St. Marys, thereby splitting the difference in the 
disputed area (Figure 4). These actions by Allen and Butts did not alter 
Whitner's position and the commissioners agreed to run their line from 
"a point two miles N 45 E from Mound B to the junction of the Flint and 
Chattahoochee rivers" because they considered themselves instructed 
by the court to do so. 31 The resulting Butts-Whitner line was an experi- 
mental line which, while never adopted, was significant in that it fore- 
shadowed a softening of Georgia's demands for a more southerly terminus. 

The legislatures of both Georgia and Florida considered the boundary 
issue at length during 1857 and 1858, and finally agreed to adopt the 
Ellicott-Minor termini in order to set the matter at rest. Gustavus J. Orr 
of Georgia and Benjamin F. Whitner, Jr., of Florida were appointed the 
following year as surveyors instructed to run a new line from the mouth 
of the Flint to Ellicott's Mound. Both states late in 1859 approved acts 
which bound them to recognize the line then being run by Orr and Whitner 
provided that it did not miss Ellicott's Mound by more than one-fourth 
of a mile. 32 

The two surveyors had intended to run a random line eastward to 
the St. Marys and, should it fail to close within the stipulated quarter-mile 
of the mound, to lay out a correction line back to the Flint. Their initial 
line, actually a series of 33 short lines each deflecting southward of the 
preceding one in their progression from west to east, closed within twenty- 
five feet north of Ellicott's marker and, therefore, a correction line was 
thought unnecessary. 33 The final segment of the line from Mound B to 
the St. Marys was run "S36 1 /2 C, E" 8.64 chains to "the nearest point of the 
River" as "the general course of the River ... is nearly west . . . (and) con- 
tinuation of the line in the same direction would . . . (have) carried it into 
the Okefenokee Swamp" 34 (Figure 3). The Orr-Whitner line, between 
the western terminus and Ellicott's Mound, not only lay north of the 
Watson line but north of the McNeil line as well. 

The report of the Orr-Whitner survey was filed in April, 1860, and 
the boundary was ratified by Florida at the next sitting of the state legisla- 
ture in February, 1861. Over strong protests within his state, Governor 
Joseph E. Brown of Georgia recommended recognition of the Orr-Whitner 
line shortly after receiving the survey report. In his words, "I regret that 
Georgia has lost a strip of territory heretofore claimed by her, and some 


valuable citizens residing upon it. There is no sufficient reason, however, 
why she should repudiate her solemn compact with Florida." 35 The 
Georgia Assembly was more reluctant to ratify the boundary, but in 
1866, following the Civil War, also accepted the Orr-Whitner line. The 
agreement was recognized and confirmed by Congress on April 9, 1872, 
thus establishing the Georgia-Florida boundary officially and permanently 
upon the Orr-Whitner line. 

The running of the McNeil line in 1825 had created a chaotic situation 
of clouded land titles and overlapping ownership along the Georgia- 
Florida border. The ratification of the Orr-Whitner line by Georgia in 
1866, bringing into Florida additional land with Georgia land titles, 
complicated the picture. Although the Florida Legislature had voted 
in 1 859 to confirm Georgia patents, there was much confusion and concern 
in the border zone. Records were often inaccurate and incomplete, pro- 
cedures for verifying claims had not yet been worked out, and cases of 
contested ownership were still surfacing. The collection of property taxes 
was a particularly knotty problem, one which led to squabbling between 
tax accessors of Georgia and Florida. 36 

In an effort to reduce tensions arising from the border situation, the 
Congressional Act of 1872 which established the Orr-Whitner line as the 
boundary also quieted land titles within the boundary zone; i.e., titles 
to lands between the Orr-Whitner and Watson lines deriving from the 
state of Georgia were confirmed by the United States. Until land records 
were put in order, however, such confirmation of titles was by itself rela- 
tively ineffectual. The validation of Georgia claims remained a difficult 
task, as was the nullification of redundant Florida grants. 

With the addition of land along its northern border, Florida felt the 
need to have the Watson McNeil, and Orr-Whitner lines marked more 
accurately, particularly in view of their importance to land description in 
the border zone. A reworking of the Watson line was authorized in 1873 
with the purpose of closing section and range lines upon it and also upon 
the McNeil line wherever this had not been done. Range lines were to be 
extended to the Orr-Whitner line, but the actual subdivision of the land up 
to the Georgia boundary would have to await adjudication of the land 
claims based upon Georgia patents. 37 Surveyor Charles F. Smith in 1874 
retraced and marked the Watson and McNeil lines, projecting the former 
to the St. Marys River as discussed earlier, and closed the Florida surveys 
upon them as well as upon the Orr-Whitner line. 38 

The problem of the organization of the space beween the Watson and 
Orr-Whitner lines, a space for the most part long occuppied, was a trouble- 
some one. Georgia's land lot survey system was incompatible with the GLO 
system of Florida, yet because the land was settled the Georgia grid could 
not be vacated as is sometimes done in the case of residential plats. It was 
suggested that the Georgia patents be handled as private claims as had 
the Spanish and British land grants in Florida during territorial days, any 


remaining public lands to be surveyed on the GLO grid. 39 The decision 
was made, however, to re-run the Georgia lot lines and fractional parts 
thereof now lying within the state of Florida, and to transfer into Florida 
records the land units so described. Further, the existing GLO survey 
to the McNeil line was deemed to be of no value since confirmed Georgia 
grants extended south to the Watson line. 40 The fragments of Georgia 
land lots within this narrow strip of northern Florida became known 
as the "Georgia Fractions." 

The details of land ownership within the Georgia Fractions were 
difficult to establish, although a list of grants of land made by Georgia, 
with names of grantees, residence and dates, diagrams of landholdings, 
and other survey information, was conveyed to Florida authorities by 
the GLO in late 1876. 41 A special survey of the land between the Watson 
and Orr-Whitner lines was authorized in 1 877 for the purpose of clarifying 
the tenure situation, resulting in the 1879 Henderson survey. While the 
Georgia claims were given major attention, in 1883 a question related 
to swamp and overflowed lands arose. Title to such lands, poorly defined 
at best, had been transferred to Florida by the United States under the 
Swamp Land Act of 1850, and it became evident that several tracts fell 
within land districts surveyed by Georgia in the 1820s, now south of the 
Orr-Whitner line. 42 

Most land claims and jurisdictional questions were settled during 
the 1880s, culminating in the case of Coffee vs Groover, one of overlapping 
ownership, adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1887. Clouded 
titles and faulty records, however, continued to plague the border zone 
for many years. 

The land boundary between Georgia and Florida is the product of 
some seventy years of controversy, a compromise solution to a long and 
often bitter dispute. Andrew Ellicott undoubtedly would have been 
amazed and chagrined if he could have witnessed the results of his failure 
to complete his boundary survey. The uncertainties of jurisdiction along 
the disputed border were vexing to officials and administrators at all 
levels, but were especially disturbing to those who took up land in good 
faith within the areas affected. Boundaries determine the legal codes 
and tax systems under which people live, and they determine the source 
of land titles. Security of patent was threatened each time a surveying 
party passed through. Now, with the controversy far behind us, the 
Georgia Fractions are a reminder of this unsettled era. 



I The Georgia land lot survey was unique in format, but lot sizes were not stan- 
dardized throughout the system. Several scales were used. In southwestern 
Georgia, bordering the western third of the boundary zone, land lots were 250 acres 
in area. The remainder of the Georgia-Florida land boundary lay within the grid 
of south-central Georgia which utilized 490-acre lots. See Sam B. Hilliard, "An 
Introduction to Land Survey Systems in the Southeast," Georgraphical Perspec- 
tives on Southern Development, Vol. 12 of West Georgia College Studies in the 
Social Sciences, edited by John C. Upchurch and David C. Weaver (Carrollton, 
Georgia, 1973), pp. 3-5. 

: The first documented use of the term "Georgia Fractions" discovered was in 
1880, although it seems likely that it was already a familiar term. LeRoy B. Ball. 
U.S. Surveyor General, Tallahassee, Florida, to J. A. Williamson, Commissioner, 
General Land Office, Washington City, Sept. 27, 1880. Archives of Bureau of 
State Lands, State of Florida. Tallahassee. 

3 There are brief and not entirely accurate references to the boundary dispute 
in standard histories of the two states. A slightly longer treatment is given in: 
Amanda Johnson, Georgia as Colony and State (Atlanta. 1938). pp. 381-384. 
Even this lucid coverage omits important steps in the development of the boundary 
as do two published reports dealing specifically with the dispute: S.G. McLendon. 
History of Georgia- Florida Boundary Line (Atlanta, 1923), pp. 5-18; and Fred 
Cubberly. "Florida Against Georgia: A story of the Boundary Dispute," Florida 
Historical Quarterly, Vol. 3, Part 2 (October 1924), pp. 20-28. The sequence 
of events was drawn chiefly from archival materials such as survey plats and public 
documents, many of the latter comprising reports, resolutions, and correspondence 
relating to the boundary surveys and the issues surrounding them. 

4 Article III of the Treaty of Friendship, Limits, and Navigation, signed at San 
Lorenzo el Real, October 27, 1795. Hunter Miller (ed.). Treaties and Other Inter- 
national Acts of the United States of America, Vol. 2 (Washington, 1931), pp. 

5 Andrew Ellicott, The Journal of Andrew Ellicott (Philadelphia, 1803; facsimile 
edition, Chicago, 1962), p. 279. Ellicott's Mound is often referred to as "Mound B." 
for it was the second of two observatory mounds established by the Ellicott-Minor 
party on the St. Marys. "Mound A" having been erected on the inner edge of the 
great southern bend of the river. 

6 A later survey (J. R. Butts. 1854) and map of Georgia (J. R. Butts, 1859) indicated 
that the point identified as being in "mid-channel" was actually located on a 
"pine island" in the swamp. 

7 Ellicott. Appendix, p. 140. 

* Resolution No. 163 of the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of 

Georgia, 19th December, 1816. Georgia Statues 1810-1819, p. 1168. 

4 Generals Thompson, Floyd, and Blackshear to Governor Rabun, February 20, 

1819. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

111 John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, to Governor Rabun, March 12, 1819. 

Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

II Governor Rabun to the Georgia Senate, November 3, 1819. McLendon, p. 12. 


12 William Greene to Governor Rabun, October 4, 1819. Archives, State of 
Georgia, Atlanta. 

13 See William Phillips, Map of the Boundary Line of Georgia and Florida 
(Atlanta, 1923, Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. The Green line is identified 
as the "Old Florida Boundary inaccurately run." It is likely that he did not run his 
line eastward of the 16th District of Irwin. 

14 Daniel Sturges, Surveyor General of Georgia, to Governor Clark, March 6, 
1820. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

15 Governor Clark to the Georgia Legislature, November 7, 1820. McLendon, 
pp. 14-15. 

16 Field notes of John A. Henderson, Surveyor, accepted December, 1879. Field 
Notes, Vol. 234, Bureau of State Lands, State of Florida (Tallahassee, n.d.) pp. 

17 George Graham, Commissioner, General Land Office to Robert Butler, U.S. 
Surveyor-General for Florida, December 20, 1824. Archives of Bureau of State 
Lands, State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

18 Robert Butler, U.S. Surveyor General for Florida, to George Graham, Com- 
missioner, General Land Office, February 12, 1825. Archives of Bureau of State 
Lands, State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

19 Not only were lands sold in violation of policy but records were unclear from 
the beginning. George Graham, Commissioner, General Land Office to Richard 
K. Call, Receiver, Tallahassee, Florida, April 14, 1826. Clarence C. Carter (ed.), 
The Territorial Papers of the United States, 26 vols. (Washington, 1934-1962), 
Vol. XXIII: The Territory of Florida, 1824-1828, pp. 519-520. 

20 20th Congress, 2nd Session, House Doc. No. 140. March 3, 1829, p. 43. 

21 Ibid., p. 26. 

22 Ibid., p. 33. 

23 John McBride to George M. Troup, Governor of Georgia, May 30, 1827. 
Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

24 House Doc. No. 140, p. 41. 

25 A report of the Committee of the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, 
March 21, 1828, House Doc. No. 140. p. 74. 

26 21st Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Doc. No. 28, January 11, 1831, p. 3. 

27 The report of Crawford and Couper appears verbatim in the Annual Message 
of the Governor of the State of Georgia to the General Assembly in the year 1 83 1 . 
23rd Congress, 1st Session, House Doc. No. 152. March 6, 1834, pp. 1-11. 

28 Thomas R.R. Cobb, A Digest of the Statute Laws of the State of Georgia in 
Force Prior to the Session of the General Assembly of 1851, (Athens, Georgia: 
1851), p. 152. 

29 After a particularly bitter interchange, the Florida Governor expressed his 
regrets "that an amicable settlement seems to be impossible." Thomas Brown, 
Governor of Florida, to George W. Towns, Governor of Georgia, June 1, 1850. 
Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

1(1 J.R. Butts, Map of the State of Georgia, 1859. 

31 James E. Broome, Governor of Florida, to Hershel V. Johnson, Governor 

of Georgia, September 28, 1854. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 


32 Governor's Message. Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia, 1860. p. 27. 

33 Gustavus J. Orr and Benjamin T. Whitner, Jr., to Joseph E. Brown, Governor 
of Georgia, November 28, 1859. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. The line 
being run to Ellicott's Mound rather than the 1.4 miles north of the mound as 
established by the original surveyors resulted in Georgia acquiring over 70,000 
additional acres of land from Florida. 

34 Field Note Book 254A, G.J. Orr and B.F. Whitner Survey of Georgia-Florida 
Boundary Line, 1859. On file in Florida Department of Natural Resources, Land 
Records Division, Tallahassee. 

35 Governor's Message. Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia, 1860, p. 27. 

36 Charles J. Jenkins, Governor of Georgia, to David Walker, Governor of 
Florida, April 23, 1866. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

37 W.W. Curtis, Acting Commissioner, General Land Office, to J.W. Gilbert. 
U.S. Surveyor General for Florida, Nov. 26, 1873. Archives of Bureau of State 
Lands, State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

38 U.J. Baxter, Acting Commissioner, General Land Office, to James M. Smith, 
Governor of Georgia. June 3. 1876. Archives, State of Georgia, Atlanta. 

39 LeRoy D. Ball, U.S. Surveyor General for Florida, to S.S. Burdett, Commis- 
sioner, General Land Office. June 15, 1875. Archives of Bureau of State Lands. 
State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

40 LeRoy D. Ball, U.S. Surveyor General of Florida, to J. A. Williamson, Com- 
missioner, General Land Office, May 9. 1877. Archives of Bureau of State Lands, 
State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

4i J. A. Williamson, Commissioner, General Land Office, to LeRoy D. Ball, U.S. 
Surveyor General for Florida, October 19, 1876. Archives of Bureau of State 
Lands, State of Florida, Tallahassee. 

42 M. Martin. U.S. Surveyor General for Florida, to N.C. McFarland, Com- 
missioner, General Land Office, June 5, 1883. Archives of Bureau of State Lands, 
State of Florida, Tallahassee. 




By John B. Rehder, John Morgan, and Joy L. Medford 

The traditional way of life is changing in rural upper East Tennessee, 
an area recognized as a living museum of folk culture and architecture 
in the Upland South. The area's economy has shifted recently from semi- 
subsistence agriculture to a mixed economy in which manufacturing and 
part-time farming are major components. 1 The transition to a more in- 
dustrial economy has had a profound impact on the rural landscape of 
the region. 2 Many of the structures traditionally found on the farms of 
the area have been abandoned, destroyed or subjected to functional con- 
version. For example, smokehouses, small but important outbuildings 
in upper East Tennessee since the initial settlement of the area, are vanish- 
ing from the landscape, and many of the extant structures are relicts. 
This paper examines the character of smokehouses in Grainger County, 
Tennessee, and offers reasons for their decline. 

The need for the study of outbuildings has been stressed by several 
students of the cultural landscape. 3 Peter O. Wacker, for example, stated 
that ". . . outbuildings are important components of any cultural land- 
scape and, unfortunately, have all too often been slighted by scholars." 4 
Although smokehouses have been examined in several areas of the United 
States, detailed field studies have not been undertaken previously in 
upper East Tennessee. 5 Because many of the smokehouses of the area 
are relicts disappearing from the landscape, the opportunity to make 
a comprehensive study of them is rapidly passing. The value of studying 
relict features has been emphasized by H.C. Prince: 6 

Relict features, however defined, may be studied for the con- 
tribution they make to the present landscape; as such, they 
are the concern of all geographers ... In the study of the geog- 
raphy of the present time relict features have a special signifi- 
cance because they indicate the nature, extent and rate of changes 
currently taking place. 

Grainger County was chosen as the area of this study because data 
on smokehouses had been gathered as part of an historic building survey 
conducted in the county for the Tennessee Historical Commission. All 
passable roads of the county were travelled. Characteristics of each log 
smokehouse and many frame smokehouses were recorded. Interviews 
with numerous residents of the county produced valuable information 
on the role and status of smokehouses in the county. 

Grainger County is a rural county located in upper East Tennessee 
in the Ridge and Valley physiographic province (Figure 1). The county 
is characterized by a strongly rolling to steeply sloping surface. Relief 




,-c'.C '~ 





•morristown / 


, y ^'\ J NORTH 



Figure 1. Location of Grainger County, Tennessee. 

is dominated by Clinch Mountain, which rises to an elevation of 2,500 
feet. Tributaries of the Clinch and Holston rivers form the drainage net- 
work of the county. 

Grainger County was officially established on April 22, 1796, but 
the first white settlement of the area began about 1785, along the valley 
south of Clinch Mountain. Most of the early settlers came from the bor- 
dering counties and states to the north and east — primarily from Virginia 
and North Carolina. 7 

Agriculture maintained a predominant position in the economy of 
rural upper East Tennessee until the middle of the twentieth century, 
but has declined greatly since World War II. 8 At present, the agriculture 
of the area is characterized by small farms, part-time farming, and the 
importance of tobacco, dairying, and livestock farming. 9 

In 1938 Robert M. Glendinning and E.N. Torbert characterized 
Grainger County as an agricultural area in which the great majority of 
the population was tied directly to the land. 10 They viewed the county as 
a "poor" one with ". . . too many farm families in relation to the ability 
of the land to support them."" Whereas the population of Grainger 
County is slightly more than in 1940, the percentage of families tied directly 
to the land has diminished greatly. For example, the percentage of the 
labor force employed in agriculture decreased from 77.5 percent in 1940 
to about 14 percent in 1970. I2 Also, the percentage of part-time farmers 
in the county increased from 16 percent in 1944 to 51 percent in 1969. I3 
During the five-year period 1964 to 1969, the percentage of part-time 
farmers jumped from 33 to 5l. 14 


Nearly all of the smokehouses of Grainger County correspond to 
the type of outbuilding identified by Glassie throughout Appalachia: 15 

It has a rectangular floor plan, consistent with German and 
Scotch-Irish traditions, a regular double pitch roof, and a door 
in one gable end. . . Although not always present, its most dis- 
tinguishing feature is a projecting roof, constructed on the 
cantilever principle typical of Pennsylvania German con- 

The great majority of the smokehouses of Grainger County are frame 
structures, but 26 log smokehouses were located (Figures 2 and 3). The 
log smokehouses average about 12 x 14 feet, whereas most of the frame 
structures are slightly smaller. The smallest of the log smokehouses 
measures 7'10" and 10'3", and the largest log structure is square with 
dimensions of 16'9". Nine of the log smokehouses are square. Height to 
the eaves of the log structures averages about 8 feet with a range of 6 to 12 
feet. The smallest frame smokehouse is 8 x 8 feet and the largest is 1 5 x 18 

The log smokehouses of Grainger County were carefully crafted 
from timbers five to 16 inches wide. Nineteen smokehouses (73%) are 
joined by half-dovetail corner notches, six (23%) are constructed with 
"V" notches, and one building is square notched. 16 Most of the structures 
are constructed of yellow poplar timbers, though pine, oak, and chestnut 
are found in several of the outbuildings. Timbers in all but one of the 
smokehouses are hand-hewn. Most of the frame smokehouses are sided 
with vertical boards, but some structures are weatherboarded. 

Most of the smokehouses have metal roofs, but the original roofs of 
nearly all of the log smokehouses and many of the frame structures were 
made of wooden boards or shingles. Twenty-four (92%) of the log smoke- 
houses have cantilevers and the others may have had them in the past. 
The cantilevered roof projections of the log smokehouses range from one 
to five feet with the average cantilever length being nearly three feet. 
The cantilevers of the frame smokehouses are shorter than those of the 
log smokehouses and some of the frame smokehouses do not have canti- 
levers. On a few of the smokehouses, poles extend between the cantilevers; 
hogs were hung from the poles to be "gutted." Most smokehouses rest 
partially or entirely on low corner stones, but a few of the log structures 
are supported solely by log sills (usually oak) on the ground. Sometimes 
the corner stones were placed under the lower side of the structure and 
thus serve as a means of levelling it. 

Each smokehouse has a front door in the cantilevered gable end. 
The front door is the only fenestration present in the log smokehouses, 
but some of the frame smokehouses have side or rear windows. Fifteen 
(58%) of the log smokehouses have earthen floors and the other eleven 
(42%) have plank floors. Almost all of the frame smokehouses have plank 


Figure 2. Cantilevered log smokehouse with "V" corner notches. 

Figure 3. Frame smokehouse with vertical sidi 



The smokehouses in the Upland South functioned not only as a 
facility for smoking slaughtered pork but also as a structure in which 
meat was salt or sugar-cured and subsequently stored prior to its con- 
sumption. 17 The most common method of processing pork in Grainger 
County was salt-curing, and in several areas of the county, hickory- 
smoking was very popular. Sugar-curing, common in some areas of the 
South, was seldom practiced in Grainger County. Hogs were usually killed 
between November 15 and January 1 each year. The fresh meat was usually 
salt-cured for six to eight weeks, depending upon the size of the hog. Salt- 
curing was carried out on a bench or in a salt box. where the meat was 
completely covered with a salt preparation. Smokehouses had one to 
three benches along the interior walls of the structure. The benches were 
usually two to three feet wide and three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half 
feet high. Meat benches in the log smokehouses often were made from wide 
yellow poplar boards, wedged between the logs of the walls for support. 
Most salt boxes were made of sawn boards, but early log smokehouses 
often contained "troughs" made from large hollowed-out poplar logs. 
Two of the log smokehouses contain such troughs. The salt boxes usually 
measure about two-and-a-half feet wide, three to five feet long, and 
two-and-a-half feet deep. Covered salt boxes protected the curing meat 
from rodents and insects. 

After the meat was cured, it was hung up on poles which usually ran 
perpendicular to the length of the smokehouse at a height of about 
five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half feet above the floor of the structure. 
Three of the log smokehouses have two tiers of poles, whereas all the others 
have one tier of poles. After the meat was salt-cured, it could be smoked 
if desired. Smoking was accomplished by slowly burning hickory chips 
or sticks, and even corncobs, under the hanging meat for about one week. 

Swine production had become an important activity in East Tennes- 
see by the late 1700s and hogs remained the primary source of meat for 
the rural people of the area until recently. 18 Smokehouses probably have 
been common landscape features for as long as swine production has 
been significant in the area. 

Although it is not possible to precisely determine the past number 
and distribution of smokehouses in Grainger County, elderly informants 
indicate that nearly all the farms in the county had smokehouses at the 
beginning of this century. Most of the smokehouses in existence at the 
turn of the century were log structures, but the great majority of those 
built during this century have been frame structures. 19 Retired farmer 
W.G. Hipsher stated that as late as 1910, nearly all the smokehouses in 
the Thorn Hill community were log structures. He did not recall, however, 
a log smokehouse built since that time. 20 Although construction dates 
for most log smokehouses were estimated, one of the structures was 
traced to at least 1840. The most recently-constructed extant log structure 
was built in 1918. The number of log smokehouses probably began to 


diminish shortly after the turn of this century, but many log structures 
remained on the landscape during the 1950s. 

Frame smokehouses could be found adjacent to a great majority of 
the dwellings of the county as late as 1960, but few smokehouses have 
been built since that time. Many smokehouses disappeared during the 
last two decades and at present perhaps no more than 40 percent of the 
open-country homesteads have smokehouses. Today, only a small number 
of these structures are used as smokehouses. 

The decline in the total number of smokehouses and in the number 
of functioning units is related to a decrease in the percentage of families 
home-curing pork. Interviews with numerous residents of the county 
indicate that only a small percentage of families now kill hogs and cure 
pork, whereas the great majority of families perserved pork in a smoke- 
house twenty years ago. Buddy Brantley, operator of a custom hog- 
slaughtering business in Grainger County for 23 years, offered the follow- 
ing observation on the decline in home-curing of pork: 21 

When I started killing hogs for people back in the fifties, 95 
percent of the families cured their own pork in smokehouses. 
Now I don't think ten percent of the families cure their own pork. 

Evidence of the magnitude of the decline in the number of hogs killed 
is found in hog production figures for Grainger County. From 1925 to 
1959, the number of hogs raised in Grainger County did not vary greatly. 
From 1959 to 1964, however, the number of swine raised in the county 
declined by 54 percent, from 5,703 to 2,626. During the same period, the 
number of farms raising hogs declined by 42 percent. From 1959 to 1974, 
the number of farms raising hogs declined by 74 percent, from 1,137 to 
295. 22 

Numerous reasons can be cited for the decline in the number of 
families killing hogs and home-curing pork, but perhaps the most impor- 
tant factor was the increase in the percentage of the labor force holding 
non-farm jobs. The purchasing power resulting from non-farm employ- 
ment allowed families to choose not to cure pork at home. 23 Many non- 
farm workers state that their jobs do not allow enough time for raising 
and killing hogs and curing pork. Others claim they can purchase pork 
cheaper in grocery stores, especially if they do not raise corn for feed. 
Some rural non-farm residents claim they do not have the facilities or 
know-how to cure pork at home. Others, especially younger persons, 
indicate a preference for meat that has not been salt-cured. Many elderly 
persons are unable to raise and slaughter hogs, and finding neighbors 
or relatives to help with the hog killing is difficult. In addition, some 
residents have been advised by their physicians to refrain from eating 

Another factor related to the decline in home-curing of pork was 
a shift to the preservation of beef, and to a lesser degree, pork, in home 


freezers. Twenty years ago, little beef was preserved by Grainger countians 
because few families had freezers. By the middle, and especially the late, 
1960s, however, many families had purchased freezers. The increase in 
the amount of beef slaughtered has been of such a magnitude that, at 
present, the amount of beef preserved in freezers may be greater than the 
volume of home-cured pork. 24 A relatively small amount of slaughtered 
pork is preserved in home freezers in lieu of salt-curing. 25 Many families, 
however, freeze only certain pork items, but continue to salt-cure most 
parts of the hog. 

Some smokehouses have been converted into storage facilities, but 
in many cases they have been abandoned or destroyed. Log smokehouses 
have not been as adaptable to functional conversions as frame smoke- 
houses. Smokehouses covered with vertical boards have not been con- 
verted to substitute functions as often as weatherboarded structures, 
which are usually sturdier. 

Although there is a recent trend to preserve and restore log dwellings 
in Grainger County, efforts seldom have been made to repair deteriorating 
log smokehouses. 26 They have frequently been destroyed rather than 
repaired. Last year, for example, an elderly couple dismantled their log 
smokehouse and burned it as firewood. 

The recently-concluded survey in Grainger County revealed that 
smokehouses and other outbuildings, especially log structures, are 
rapidly disappearing from the landscape of upper East Tennessee. 27 We 
believe detailed studies are urgently needed throughout the Upland South 
to record the character of outbuildings and to determine to what extent 
and why they are vanishing. We plan to examine outbuildings as part 
of a large study in several other East Tennessee counties in the near future. 


1 Billy J. Trevena and Lynn J. Garrett, "Industrialization and Part-Time Farming 
in Upper East Tennessee," Tennessee Farm and Home Science, Progress Report 
100 (October, November, December, 1976), pp. 19-21; and Edward Theodore 
Freels, Jr., "A Geographic Study of a Cross Section of the Great Valley of East 
Tennessee," unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Tennessee, 1970, 
pp. 111-157. Numerous scholars have examined tradition and change in Appa- 
lachia in Thomas R. Ford (editor), The Southern Appalachian Region (Lexington: 
University of Kentucky Press, 1967); and Bruce Ergood and Bruce E. Kuhre 
(editors), Appalachia: Social Context Past and Present (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall- 
Hunt Publishing Company, 1976). 

2 Freels, Jr., "A Geographic Study of a Cross Section of the Great Valley," p. 111. 

3 See, for example, Fred B. Kniffen, "Neglected Chapters of Pioneer Life," 
Pioneer America Society Newsletter 2 (July, 1969), pp. 1-4. 

4 Peter O. Wacker, "Cultural and Commercial Regional Associations of Tradi- 
tional Smokehouses in New Jersey," Pioneer America, Vol. 3, (July, 1971), p. 25. 

5 Ibid., pp. 25-34; Amos Long, Jr., The Pennsylvania German Family Farm 
(Breinigsville, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1972), pp. 


179-196, and "Smokehouses in the Lebanon Valley," Pennsylvania Folklife, 
Vol. 13 (Fall, 1962), pp. 26-30; Terry G. Jordan, Texas Log Buildings (Austin: 
University of Texas Press, 1978), pp. 177-179, and "Log Construction in the 
East Cross Timbers of Texas," Proceedings, Pioneer America Society, Vol. 2 
(1973), pp. 1 19-122; and Henry Glassie, "The Smaller Outbuildings of the Southern 
Mountains," Mountain Life and Work, Vol. 40 (1964), pp. 21-25. 

6 H.C. Prince, "Historical Geography," Section Report VI, in J. Wreford Watson, 
editor, 20th International Geographic Congress Proceedings, 1967, pp. 165-167. 

7 W.E. Holt (editor), Grainger County, 1796-1976 (Rutledge, Tennessee: 
Grainger County Bicentennial Committee, 1976) pp. 4-8; and Goodspeed's History 
of Tennessee (Nashville: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887), pp. 853-856. 

8 Freels, Jr., "A Geographic Study of a Cross Section of the Great Valley," p. 1 1 1. 
y Ibid, p. 113. 

10 Robert M. Glendinning and E.N. Torbert, "Agricultural Problems in Grainger 
County, Tennessee," Economic Geography, Vol. 14(1938), pp. 159-166. 

11 Ibid., p. 166. 

12 United States Bureau of Census, County and City Data Book, 1949 (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1952); and University of 
Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research, Tennessee Statistical 
Abstract 1977 (Knoxville, 1977). 

13 Trevena and Garrett, "Industrialization and Part-Time Farming," p. 20. 

14 Ibid. 

15 Glassie, "The Smaller Outbuildings of the Southern Mountains," p. 23. 

16 For a discussion of notching techniques, see Fred Kniffen, "On Corner- 
Timbering," Pioneer America, Vol. 1 (1969), pp. 1-8; and Fred Kniffen and Henry 
Glassie, "Building in Wood in the Eastern United States: A Time-Place Per- 
spective," Geographical Review, Vol. 56 (1966), pp. 48-57. In the same article, 
pp. 58-65, Kniffen and Glassie discuss the distribution and development of corner- 
timbering in the Eastern United States. 

17 Hog slaughtering in the Southern mountains is discussed and illustrated in 
Eliot Wigginton (editor), The Foxfire Book (Garden City, New York: Anchor 
Press-Doubleday, 1972), pp. 189-198. 

18 William Flinn Rogers, "Life in East Tennessee Near the End of the Eighteenth 
Century," East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, No. 1 (1929), p. 35. 
For a study of pork production in the South before the Civil War, see Sam B. 
Hilliard, "Pork in the Ante-Bellum South: The Geography of Self-Sufficiency," 
Annals, Association of American Geographers, Vol. 59 (1969), pp. 461-480. 

19 The tradition of log construction in the Upland South has been recognized by 
several students of the cultural landscape. See, for example, Fred Kniffen, "Folk 
Housing: Key to Diffusion," Annals, Association of American Geographers, 
Vol. 55 (1965), pp. 549-577; and Henry Glassie, "The Appalachian Log Cabin," 
Mountain Life and Work, Vol. 39 (1963), pp. 5-15, and "The Old Barns of 
Appalachia," Mountain Life and Work, Vol. 40 (1965), pp. 21-30. 

20 Interview with W.G. Hipsher, retired farmer, Rutledge, Tennessee, December 
20, 1978. 


21 Interview with Buddy Brantley, operator of B & B Packing Company, Helton- 
ville, Tennessee, December 29, 1978. 

22 United States Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Agriculture 
(Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office), 1925-1974. 

23 Median family income in Grainger County rose from 2,500 dollars in 1960 
to 5, 100 dollars in 1970. Frank O. Leuthold, "Commuting Patterns of the Tennes- 
see Population," Tennessee Farm and Home Science, Progress Report 92 (Octo- 
ber, November, December, 1974), pp. 8-9. 

24 For a discussion of how beef has replaced pork as the preferred American meat, 
see Marvin Harris and Eric B. Ross, "How Beef Became King," Psychology Today, 
Vol. 12, No. 5 (October, 1978), pp. 88-94. 

25 Brantley, interview, states that at least 95 percent of his customers who kill 
hogs continue to salt-cure most of their pork. 

2u An exception is the recent restoration of one of the log smokehouses in Grainger 


27 Log outbuildings have vanished from the landscape in Grainger County at a 

greater rate than log dwellings. For example, we located more than 200 log 

dwellings, but only 26 log smokehouses. 




By J. Brady Foust and Ingolf Vogeler 

This prolegomenous essay suggests critical concerns about describing 
and explaining black farmland ownership trends in the southern United 
States. These questions provide the intellectual exercises necessary for 
a comprehensive understanding of black agriculture which is needed for 
meaningful public policies. 

The decline of black agriculture was treated in a rather obscure fash- 
ion until the Civil Rights movement and the rise of black awareness in the 
1 960s. Recent studies on the topic have pointed to the substantial decrease 
in black owned and operated farms. The trends indicate massive and rapid 
decline throughout the South in the last fifty years. 1 The demise of black 
farm families is especially noteworthy today because most southern states 
have fewer than 3,000 such operators left. If current trends continue, black 
farm operators will vanish by the 1980s. 2 This decline is shown for the 
South for three land tenure classes for the periods 1954-64 and 1964-74 
in Table 1. 


Although the study of black farming is justified by its distinctive 
human-environmental relationships and regional concentrations, the 
topic must also be placed in a larger frame of reference to provide a truly 
comprehensive description. Several major questions must be considered. 

First, the decline of black farm operators needs to be compared to 
white farm operators. Are black farmers declining at a faster rate relative 
to white farmers in the South? White farm decline is given in Table 2 and 
should be compared with Table 1. Black land tenure of all types declined 
more rapidly than whites, but both groups decreased from 1954 to 1974. 
How much of the decline in black farming is the result of the demise of 
agriculture in general, and how much can be attributed to conditions that 
affect only black farmers? 

Second, farm size is critical in describing agricultural decline. 
Throughout the United States, larger farms are increasing in number 
relative to all other farms. 3 Table 3 illustrates the average size of white 
and black farm operations for three different census years. Although the 
average size of black farms in the South almost doubled between 1964 
and 1974, the average black farm remained under lOOacres and well below 
the average size of white farms in 1954. In what specific size categories 
are black and white farm operators in the South? Which size by race are 
declining rapidly? Which sizes by race are increasing or remaining stable? 
These questions are impossible to answer given the nature of the published 


Table 1 

Change: 1954-1964 



Tenure Class 

Tenure Class 







































































































Source: United States Census of Agriculture. 

data in the Census of Agriculture because data by race and farm size are 
not given in enough detail to make precise comparisons. Officials at the 
Bureau of the Census have assured us that such information can be cross- 
tabulated from future census computer tapes. 

Third, farm size and type of farming are strongly correlated. Labor- 
intensive farms, such as dairy, truck, and tobacco farms, are considerably 
smaller than capital-intensive farms, yet may retain their viability. Are 
certain types of farming associated more with black farms, which are 
commonly smaller in size? Has black agriculture declined less in areas 
that practice labor-intensive, small-scale farming than in those in which 
capital-intensive, large-scale operations predominate? Average farm size 
for each race, as indicated in Table 3, was lowest in North Carolina which 
might be expected given the predominance of tobacco farming in the state. 
The data in Tables 1 and 2, however, indicate that North Carolina had 
the greatest decline in black full-owner operations between 1964-74, and 
relatively high rates of decline for part-owner and tenant operations. 


An adequate description of black farmland change must at least 
address the above questions. With this descriptive data base, explanations 
can be provided and public policies formulated. Although a wide range 


Table 2 


Change: 1954-1964 





Tenure Class 














- 5.97% 







- 4.93% 




























- 7.93% 




- 1.42% 










- 9.01% 







- 3.35% 
















- 9.73% 

















Source: United States Census of Agriculture. 

of alternative explanations exist to account for the demise of black agri- 
culture, only one predominates in the literature, and it has not been ade- 
quately explored given the empirical questions we have posed. 

The conservative explanation, the most common, blames individuals 
for their failure to adapt to trends in agriculture in the United States. For 
example, Fisher mentions many characteristic ones. "He (the Black 
Farmer) commonly has a less advanced attitude towards improved 
methods and commercial production, and therefore does not use his land 
as effectively as he might. The inability of Negro farm owners to adapt 
is reflected also in limited commercialism and social attitudes and his 
own resistance have virtually excluded him from participation in the ad- 
ministration of the programs (soil conservation, farm loan) which vitally 
affect him." 4 These kinds of explanations lay the problem of black farm- 


land loss at the feet of blacks themselves. The social and economic context 
in which these farmers exist is ignored. This conservative explanation 
is particularly attractive because white institutions are not held account- 
able for this black problem, and it allows whites to feel sorry for this 
"unfortunate" minority since individual traits of adaptation and intelli- 
gence can hardly be changed by society. 

Table 3 


Year White Black 

1954 145.35 48.68 

1964 282.60 56.60 

1974 284.01 98.96 

Source: United States Census of Agriculture 

A liberal perspective explains the decline of black farmland as the 
result of racist attitudes, behavior, and institutions in the United States. 
Blacks are perceived as being passively impacted by white social groups 
and institutions around them. [Very few geographers have explored this 
type of explanation in the case of black agriculture, but this liberal view 
has many implications which should be given attention because discrimi- 
natory practices within the agencies and programs of the USDA have 
limited the access of minority farmers to needed services and resources. 

For example, minorities make up only 10.8 percent of all permanent, 
fulltime USDA employees, while minorities constitute 20 percent of total 
federal employment. Mississippi, with blacks making up 31.5 percent 
of its rural population, had only 5.1 percent employed by the USDA in 
the state in 1975. In the same year, North Carolina had only 7.2 percent 
black USDA employees yet the blacks accounted for 19.8 percent of its 
rural population. In 1975, minorities comprised only 3.2 percent of the 
8,600 employees of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation 
Service and only 7.2 percent of the more than 17,000 Cooperative Exten- 
sion Service employees. Legal action was taken as late as 1974 in Missis- 
sippi to get the first black appointed as a full county agent. 5 

Many federal policy decisions are made locally. Commodity support 
programs, for example, are determined at the local level through the 
Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. Only eleven of the 
9,097 ASCS county committee members in the nation were blacks in 
1977, and only three blacks were included among the possible 3, 857 county 
community members in the South. Of the 15,540supervisors on thedistrict 
boards for the Soil Conservation Service, only 2. 1 percent were minorities 


and, in 1976, there were only 95 minority group members of the 2,585 
members of the boards of directors of Rural Electric Cooperatives in six- 
teen southern states. Farmers' Home Administration county committees 
included only 11.2 percent minorities in 1975, but the FmHA has made 
significant strides toward greater minority representation recently. 6 

The bulk of agricultural innovation and expertise in the United States 
originates in Land Grant Colleges. White land grant schools were created 
by the first Morrill Act in 1862; those for blacks were not formed until 
the second Morrill Act of 1890 and none of the seventeen black schools 
offered college-level courses until 1917. The 1862 and 1890 colleges have 
remained unequal even after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 
For example, white land grant colleges received eleven times more funding 
than black schools in 1968. The federal government in 1968 gave $5.8 
million to Clemson University and only $490,000 to predominately black 
South Carolina State, an 1890 school. At this time, Clemson had only 
about three times as many students as South Carolina State. Mississippi 
State (1862 school), with only four and one-half times as many students as 
Alcorn A&M (1890 school), received fourteen times more funding in the 
same year. Federal and state aid in 1968 amounted to almost $2,300 per 
student in the white land grant schools, but was less than $1,365 per student 
in the predominately black 1890 institutions. The discrimination against 
black colleges has limited the opportunities and services these schools 
can offer to rural black farmers and youth. 7 

Similar discrimination or lack of opportunity is apparent in the 
utilization of USDA programs. In the decade ending in 1976, the percent- 
age of blacks receiving housing loans from the Farmers' Home Adminis- 
tration declined from 19.4 to 9.5 percent. Ineligibility accounts for much 
of the decline; by 1974, 50.3 percent of rural black families were too poor 
to .qualify for the loans (up from 36.2 percent in 1969). White households 
too poor to qualify, however, remained about the same over the decade. 
Between 1966 and 1976, the percentage of FmHA farm ownership loans 
made to black farmers declined from 5.7 to 1.5 percent. In 1975, only 40 
percent of eligible black-operated farms participated in USDA soil and 
water conservation programs while 59 percent of white-operated farms 
were enrolled. 

If racism, which has denied blacks equal opportunity, is the primary 
reason for the demise of black farming, we might assume that it would 
be most apparent in a "Deep South" state such as Mississippi. That state, 
however, registered similar declines in number of farming operations for 
both races from 1954 to 1964 and comparably low rates of decline between 
1964 and 1974. Very careful research is required if the liberal hypothesis 
of individual racism is to be documented. This hypothesis explains dis- 
crimination as common human bigotry which can be overcome by the 
education of whites and federal and state civil rights and equal opportunity 


The radical paradigm, the least known and developed, views discrim- 
ination and the demise of black farm families as endemic to the present 
economic system. Capitalism permits greater profits to be extracted from 
black farm operators and pits white and black farmers against each other, 
thus weakening white farmers as well. Without adequately sized farms, 
both races are forced out of farming to provide cheap labor to urban 
employers and especially in the South and Southwest, to provide inexpen- 
sive land and labor to remaining Southern agriculturalists operating on 
a larger-scale. x The two great labor migrations to Northern industrial 
centers, blacks from throughout the South and whites from the Appala- 
chian highlands, were related to farms which were too small to provide 
an adequate living. Radicals do not believe generally that capitalism is 
the originator of racism, but rather that it perpetuates and intensifies 
racism because of the valuable function it serves. Similarily, the demise 
of small family farms provides a labor force that can be easily exploited. 

Black farm families are impacted as both a marginal race and a mar- 
ginal occupation. Black farmers experience, along with most other farmers 
(especially small-scale operators) in the United States, the marginalization 
of their lives in an urban, industrial market exchange economy; but they 
experience it to a greater degree. 

Farm incomes, regardless of race, are substantially below those in 
commerce and industry. 9 The greater the exploitation of farm labor, the 
higher the profits for agricultural input (fertilizers, machinery, bank loans) 
and output (grain merchants, livestock markets) industries, and the lower 
the food costs to urban consumers. Thus commercial interests and con- 
sumer groups have a vested interest in maintaining the exploitation of 
farm labor — both black and white. 

Radical analysts, who consider not only class and race antagonisms 
but also consequent regional and urban/rural inequalities, employ the 
concept of regional colonialism or regional underdevelopment. 10 Gorz, 
in his 1971 article, suggests that "the geographical concentration of the 
process of capitalist accumulation has necessarily gone hand-in-hand 
with the relative — or even absolute — impoverishment of other regions." 
These latter regions have been used by industrial and financial centers 
(higher-order urban clusters) as reservoirs of labor or of primary and 
agricultural resources. Like the colonies of the great European empires, 
the "peripheral" regions have provided the metropoles with their savings, 
their labor-power, their men, without having a right to the local reinvest- 
ment of the capital accumulated through their activity." 


Existing data on black farmland trends can be analyzed from three 
alternative frameworks. Most of the existing literature on the subject is 


an incomplete description of the problem and utilizes the conservative 
viewpoint, emphasizing individual decision-making and environmental 
causation. In fact, most general studies of Southern agriculture have 
concentrated on the environmental base despite the availability of alter- 
native views. 12 Agriculture is a social phenomenon; the physical base is 
appraised and utilized within a particular political, social, and economic 
system. It is this system which determines the pattern of agriculture in a 
place. Any explanation of the pattern is, in fact, an analysis of the system, 
and both liberal and radical analyses focus on the larger dimensions of the 
problem. The demise of black agriculture is merely a symptom of larger 
societal processes which should be explored. 

Geographers must choose among conservative, liberal, and radical 
perspectives. How can the choice be made? We should choose the approach 
which gives the most accurate and complete explanation. The literature 
on black agriculture in the South, however, suggests the conservative 
framework is lacking in explanatory power and that the liberal and radical 
viewpoints have received almost no attention but would, if applied, yield 
better results. Future study of the problem must explore these viewpoints 
if we are to understand the decline of black agriculture in the South. 


1 Black Economic Research Center, "Black Land Loss: The Plight of Black 
Ownership," Southen Exposure, Vol. 2, No. 2& 3 (Fall 1974). pp. 112-121. Eleanor 
Clift, "Black Land Loss: 6.000,000 Acres and Fading Fast," Southern Exposure, 
Vol. 2, No. 2 & 3 (Fall 1974), pp. 108-1 1 1. 

2 Lester M. Salamon, Black Owned Land: Profile of a Disappearing Equity Base, 
Report to the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, U.S. Department of Com- 
merce, Duke University, Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs, 1974. 

3 Robert Bildner, "Southern Farms: A Vanishing Breed," Southern Exposure, 
Vol. 2, No. 2 & 3 (Fall 1974), pp. 72-79. 

4 James S. Fisher, "Negro Farm Ownership in the South," Annals of the Associa- 
tion of American Geographers, Vol. 63, No. 4 (December 1973). pp. 478-489. 

5 United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.. Who Will Farm, New York: Church 
and Society Program Area, United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 1978. 

6 William C. Payne, "The Negro Land Colleges," The Civil Rights Digest, Spring, 

7 Ibid. 

8 NACLA, Latin America and Empire Report. Vol. II, No. 3 (March 1977), 
whole issue devoted to "The Apparel Industry Moves South." 

9 Richard Peet, "Rural Inequality and Regional Planning," Antipode, Vol. 7, 
No. 3 (December 1975), pp. 10-24. 


10 Joe Persky, "Regional Colonialism and the Southern Economy," 
Review of Radical Political Economy, Vol. 4 (Fall 1972), pp. 70-79. 

11 Andre Gorz, "Colonialism, At Home and Abroad," Liberation, November 

12 For example see John Fraser Hart, "Cropland Concentrations in the South," 
Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 68, No. 4 (December 


v< \^ 


Volume XIX 

June, 1980 




Published by 

A Division of the University System of Georgia 


Volume XIX June, 1980 





Volume Editor 


Contributors iii 

Foreword John C. Upchurch iv 

Preface Lewis H. Larson, Jr. v 

The Occupation of Sapelo Island 

Since 1733 Patricia D. O'Grady 1 

Spalding's Sugar Works Site, 

Sapelo Island, Georgia Morgan R. Crook, Jr. 9 

Patricia D. O'Grady 

The Spanish on Sapelo Lewis H. Larson, Jr. 35 

A Model for Barrier Island 

Settlement Pattern Alan E. Mc Michael 47 

A Preliminary Report on Test 
Excavations at the Sapelo Island 
Shell Ring, 1975 Daniel L. Simpkins 61 

Spatial Associations and Distribution 
of Aggregate Village Sites in a 
Southeastern Atlantic Coastal Area Morgan R. Crook, Jr. 11 

Archaeological Indications of Community 

Structures at the Kenan Field Site Morgan R. Crook, Jr. 89 

Technological Analysis of Some Sapelo 
Island Pottery: Social and/or Functional 
Differences Marian Saffer 101 

References Cited 109 



Vol. IV, 1965, The Changing Role of Government. 

Vol. V, 1966, Issues in the Cold War. 

Vol. VII, 1968, Social Scientists Speak on Community Development. 

Vol. VIII, 1969, Some Aspects of Black Culture. 

Vol. XI, 1972, Georgia Diplomats and Nineteenth Century Trade 

Vol. XII, 1973, Geographic Perspectives on Southern Development. 

Vol. XIII, 1974, American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods. 

Price, each title, $2.00 

Vol. XIV, 1975, Political Morality, Responsiveness, and Reform 

in America. 

Vol. XV, 1976, The American Revolution: The Home Front. 

Vol. XVI, 1977, Essays on the Human Geography of the 
Southeastern United States. 

Vol. XVII, 1978, Dependency Unbends: Case Studies 
in Inter-American Relations 

Vol. XVIII, 1979, The Southeastern United States: Essays on the 
Cultural and Historical Landscape. 

Price, each title, $3.00 

Copyright ° 1980, West Georgia College 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Thomasson Printing Co., Carrollton, Georgia 30117 

Price, $4.00 

West Georgia College is an 
Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer 


MORGAN R. CROOK, JR. received his Master's degree from West 
Georgia College and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Crook 
is currently a Research Associate, conducting sponsored archaeological 
investigations for West Georgia College. 

LEWIS H. LARSON received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. 
He joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology 
at West Georgia College in 1971 where he is Professor of Anthropology. 
He was appointed State Archaeologist in 1972. He has served as director 
of the Sapelo archaeological project since its inception in 1974. 

ALAN E. McMICHAEL received the B. A. degree in Anthropology from 
West Georgia College and is now a graduate student in Anthropology at 
the University of Florida. His research interests center around New 
World archaeology and ethnohistory. He is currently a Research Assis- 
tant at the Florida State Museum and is on the editorial staff of The 
Florida Journal of Anthropology. 

PATRICIA C. O'GRADY received her B. A. from West Georgia College 
in 1977. She has participated in several prehistoric and historical arch- 
aeology projects in Georgia and Tennessee. Her interests are in anthro- 
pology and historical archaeology. Ms. O'Grady is currently completing 
her Master's thesis at Florida State University and is employed by the 
Southeast Archaeological Center, National Park Service in Tallahassee, 

MARRIAN SAFFER holds a M.A. in anthropology from the University 
of Florida. Her research interests include ceramic ecology, the use of 
multivariate techniques with archaeological data, and problems of coast- 
al prehistory. She is currently serving as laboratory archaeologist for the 
Kings Bay Testing Project in Camden County, Georgia. 

DANIEL L. SIMPKINS received his B.A. degree in Anthropology from 
West Georgia College. He is currently a graduate student at the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His interests include the arch- 
aeology of the southeastern United States and cultural ecology. 



This volume continues the precedent of utilizing the services of a 
volume editor working under the loose supervision of a general editor, a 
policy begun with the 1973 issue of Studies in the Social Sciences. 
Responsibility for selecting the theme of the present volume, the essays 
herein included, and initial editorial refinement was that of the volume 
editor. The role of the general editor was limited to broad consultation 
with the volume editor, final editing, and liaison with the printer. 

The current volume brings together significant results of a six-year- 
long program of archaeological survey of Sapelo Island, Georgia. Several 
of the papers have been published previously in other journals; and 
appreciation is extended to the editors of these publications for their per- 
mission to reprint the articles. Specifically, acknowledgements go to: (1) 
the Society for Georgia Archaeology, publishers of Early Georgia, for 
permission to reprint Daniel Simpkins' "A Preliminary Report on Test 
Excavations at the Sapelo Island Shell Ring, 1975"; (2) Graphmitre Ltd., 
publishers of Industrial Archaeology, for permission to reprint Morgan 
R. Crook and Patricia D. O'Grady's "Spalding's Sugar Works Site, Sapelo 
Island, Georgia"; (3) the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, pub- 
lishers of Proceedings of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, 
for permission to reprint Marian Saffer's "Technological Analysis of 
Some Sapelo Island Pottery: Social and/or Functional Differences," and; 
(4)~the Florida Anthropological Society, publishers of The Florida An- 
thropologist, for permission to reprint Alan E. McMichael's "A Model for 
Barrier Island Settlement Pattern," and Morgan R. Crook's "Spatial 
Associations and Distribution of Aggregate Village Sites in a Southeastern 
Atlantic Coastal Area." Full bibliographic citations for reprinted papers 
may be found on the title page of each article. 

As in the past, Studies in the Social Sciences is financed partially by 
the University System of Georgia. It is distributed gratis to libraries of 
state supported colleges and universities in Georgia, and to selected 
institutions of higher education in other southeastern states. Interested 
individuals or libraries may purchase copies of the 1980 issue for $4.00 
each to help defray printing and mailing costs. Standing orders for the 
annual series are available at the current reduced rate of $3.00 Earlier 
issues of the Studies series, listed on p. ii, may be obtained for either $2.00 
or $3.00, as listed. 

It is with considerable pleasure that the editors submit to you thi c 
volume on Sapelo Island. 

John C. Upchurch 
Professor and Chairman 
Department of Geography 
General Editor 



By Lewis H. Larson 

Beginning in the summer of 1974 West Georgia College initiated a 
program of archaeological survey on Sapelo Island, a barrier island on the 
Georgia coast in Mcintosh County. The survey has continued for the past six 
years and has resulted in the series of papers included here. Most of these 
papers have been published previously in professional journals and are 
reprinted here through the courtesy of those journals. It is thought that the 
present volume will serve a useful purpose to have the results of the survey 
brought together and presented in a uniform format. 

An archaeological survey of a barrier island on the Georgia coast was 
proposed for several reasons. The primary reason was to develop a much 
needed model that could be used by the Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources in the creation of the archaeological component of the State 
Historic Preservation Plan and in cultural resource management strategies 
for the coastal region. To the extent that Sapelo Island was representative of 
the coastal environment; was apparently occupied during the entire range of 
human history on the coast; had experienced minimal development in the 
post-plantation period; and was owned by the State of Georgia, it offered an 
excellent and convenient opportunity to collect the data necessary to de- 
velop a model that could be used in predicting coastal archaeology. 

A second reason, and one with a more immediate purpose, was to 
provide information to the Game and Fish Division of the Georgia De- 
partment of Natural Resources so that the development of the island as a 
game management area could be planned to have a minimal effect on the 
cultural resources. 

The survey program has focused on the identification of the archaeo- 
logical resources of the island and their evaluation. It has been known for a 
long time that there was relatively little information, bearing on the arch- 
aeology of the island, contained in the records dealing with Sapelo. The 
limited documentary sources pertaining to its history, for the most part, have 
been accessible but are only of limited application. Therefore, most of the 
time and energy of the survey have been spent in the field. It was intended 
that little effort should be expended on large scale excavation. Rather, sites 
were to be located and, where it was possible and a productive endeavor, 
detailed maps of the site were to be made. Again, where conditions per- 
mitted, carefully controlled surface collections were to be carried out. Final- 
ly, limited excavation was to be conducted in order to characterize the sites in 
terms of the temporal positions, the relationships to other sites on the island 
and in the coastal area generally, the type of subsistence pattern, the size and 
configuration of the resident populations, and finally the seasonality and 
function of the occupation. Obviously, an area the size of Sapelo with its 

complexity of occupation would require considerable time to completely 
survey in the manner required by the defined research goals. We have not 
completed the survey, but we have come a long way in formulating our areal 
model for coastal archaeology, and we have been able to assist in the 
planning on the island by providing information and guidance as the game 
management area development has gone forward. 

The papers included here set forth the results of the survey. To date the 
identification of sites on the island has been completed. They range in time 
from late Archaic fiber tempered occupations through post-Civil War freed- 
man's settlements and homesites. Because little of the island is now under 
cultivation, controlled surface collection has been possible on only a single 
site, Bourbon Field. The Shell Ring, the site north of the Shell Ring, Kenan 
Field, the ruins at Chocolate, the house ruins at High Point, and Bourbon 
have been carried out. 

At this time, the mapping and test excavations at the Black settlement at 
Raccoon Bluff and the remapping and further testing at Bourbon are both 
major tasks that remain for the survey. But there are other large sites that also 
await detailed definition and record. Included are sites on Johnson Creek and 
Hanging Bull. In addition, an accurate record of the Spalding dock system 
lying partially buried in the sediments of Post Office Creek at Long Tabby, is 
programmed for the future. 

The papers included here do not represent the complete research results 
of the Sapelo survey effort. In 1978 Morgan R. Crook, Jr. wrote Mississippian 
Period Community Organizations on the Georgia Coast. This study is based 
primarily on the analysis of the map and test excavations of Kenan Field. This 
major Sapelo Island site covers some 60 hectares and is characterized by 589 
shell middens, two burial mounds, and appears to have one or two groupings 
of platform mounds. Dr. Crook's research was submitted as a doctoral 
dissertation, and while it is too lengthy to be included here it is available from 
University Microfilms. 

With the exception of myself, the authors of these papers all parti- 
cipated in the Sapelo survey as graduate or undergraduate students at 
West Georgia College and the University of Florida. Dr. Crook has been 
a participant in the survey, not only as a graduate student, but also as a 
faculty member at West Georgia College. 

Funding for the Sapelo survey was carried out with matching grants 
from the Office of the Governor; the Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources; and grants-in-aid from the Department of the Interior, Heri- 
tage Conservation and Recreation Service, under provisions of the 
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Deep appreciation for this 
funding must be expressed to the following individuals and the funding 
programs that they administer: George Busbee, Governor of Georgia; 
Joe D. Tanner, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; 
and Elizabeth A. Lyon, Georgia State Historic Preservation Officer. 

I only wish it were possible to acknowledge in a manner that fully 


reflects the extent to which the archaeological survey of Sapelo Island 
depended upon the help and guidance of C. V. Waters, Coastal Regional 
Supervisor for Game Management, Game and Fish Division, Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources and his staff. Mr. Waters and his staff 
were always willing and able to find solutions to the myriad problems, 
great and small, that are a part of any archaeological field work. Mr. 
Waters' knowledge of the island, his unfailing good humor, generosity 
with his time, and his understanding of archaeology have made, over the 
years, the survey possible. 

The late Dr. James Wash, Director of Research Services and Mr. J. E. 
McWhorter, Budget Officer of West Georgia College are responsible for 
guiding me through a sometimes almost impenetrable fiscal thicket as we 
strove to develop the contracts supporting the project. I am grateful to 
them both. 

I am equally appreciative of the valuable assistance that has been 
given by Mr. Robert Townley and his staff at West Georgia College plant 

Dr. Richard Dangle, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, West 
Georgia College has not only assisted the project in many ways, but even 
more importantly he has been uncommonly sympathetic to, and patient 
with, its objectives and problems. 



By Patricia D. O'Grady 

The sea islands of Georgia were largely uninhabited in 1686 when 
Jonathan Dickenson made his memorable journey from St. Mary's to 
Beaufort, South Carolina. Earlier Spanish attempts to possess and devel- 
op the area between St. Augustine and Charleston had met with failure. 
The Indians now were largely dispersed, the missions abandoned, and 
agricultural fields lay dormant (Lovell 1933:15). 

When Georgia was established as an English Colony in 1733, most 
evidence of Spanish occupation had disappeared from the sea islands, 
and the Creek Indians considered the Georgia coast as their own. Despite 
continuing Spanish claims, the Creeks, in a treaty with James Oglethorpe, 
granted to the British the coast land between the Savannah and Altamaha 
rivers, reserving for themselves hunting rights on the islands of Ossabaw, 
St. Catherines and Sapelo (Coulter 1940:38; Lovell 1933:19). These 
islands were destined to play an important role in the developing history 
of Georgia. 

Shortly after Oglethorpe first landed at Yamacraw Bluff near pres- 
ent-day Savannah, he engaged the half-breed niece of the Creek Emperor 
of Coweta as his interpreter. This tribal princess, whose Indian name was 
Coosaponakeesa and English name was Mary, had been educated as a 
Christian in South Carolina. In 1717 she married the half-breed son of 
Colonel John Musgrove of South Carolina (Coleman and Ready 1976: 
257). Mary Musgrove and her husband operated a prosperous trading 
establishment near Yamacraw at the time of Oglethorpe's arrival in the 
Colony; and upon meeting the Englishman Mary turned her attention 
from the trading establishment to working as Oglethorpe's interpreter 
and as an Indian agent. Throughout this time, however, she occasionally 
provided goods to the colonists on credit (Coleman and Ready 1976:257). 
During the period Mary served Oglethorpe, she was widowed, remarried 
a Captain Mathews, and was widowed once more. Mary's third husband, 
the Reverend Thomas Bosomworth, proved to be an exceptionally am- 
bitious man; thus, it possibly was under his influence that a Creek 
Chieftain named Malatchi bestowed the islands of St. Catherines, Ossa- 
baw, and Sapelo to Mary in 1747 (Lovell 1933:60; Vanstory 1956:11; 
Coulter 1940:38). Bosomworth and his wife planned to develop the 
islands into great plantations; however, Colonial authorities rejected the 
claim based on their policy of limited land grants. Bosomworth took the 
case to court and at the same time made claims for Mary's early services 
to the Crown for which, he asserted, she had never been paid (Coleman 
and Ready 1976:256-263). 


This dispute remained a disruptive factor in local Indian relations 
for over ten years and the Board of Trade was anxious to settle the claim 
when Governor Henry Ellis arrived in the Colony in 1757. Ellis was 
extremely adept in his relations with the Indians, and late that same year a 
new treaty was made with the Creeks in which the Indians ceded to Ellis, 
for the Crown, the islands of Ossabaw, Sapelo, and St. Catherines, with a 
formal denial that they earlier had been given to Mary Musgrove (Abbott 

Ellis' finesse in Indian relations was evident with his next move. 
Rather than use the cession to devastate the Bosomworth claim and 
prolong the friction caused by it, he urged the Board of Trade to make a 
settlement with the Bosomworths to silence them in future Indian coun- 
cils (Coleman and Ready 1976:89, 100, 158, 210). Owing to improvements 
the Bosomworths had already made on St. Catherines Island, it was 
agreed that they would be granted that island as their own, while Ossabaw 
and Sapelo were to be sold, and the proceeds given to Mary to settle the 
goods and services claim. She and Thomas were to receive£450 for goods 
and £1650 for services (Coleman and Ready 1976:254). 

The Georgia islands were advertised in the Carolina Gazette on 
December 10, 1759, and were put up for auction in 500 acre tracts. The 
initial bids were low and thus unacceptable to Ellis; and on April 14, 1760 
the islands were again put up for auction, separately and without being 
divided into tracts (Coleman and Ready 1976:225). Ossabaw was sold for 
£1350 and Sapelo for £700. Both islands were purchased by Grey Elliott, 
a land speculator and member of the King's Council in the Colony of 
Georgia (Coleman and Ready 1976:243; Hart n.d.:l; Vanstory 1956:12, 
45). This sum was accepted by the Bosomworths and a discharge of all 
claims against the crown was signed. On June 27, 1760, following years of 
controversy, Henry Ellis forwarded to the Board of Trade "A full account 
of the sale of Sapelo and Ossabaw Islands and other Indian lands to satisfy 
the Bosomworth claims against the Crown" (Coleman and Ready 1976:243). 
His Excellency George II granted to Grey Elliott, Esquire, the islands of 
Sapelo and Ossabaw on October 31, 1760 (Candler 1907:00; Coleman and 
Ready 1976:331). 

Sapelo changed ownership several times in the next few years. 
Andrew Mackay, an Indian trader, purchased the island from Elliott in 
1762 and was its first large-scale planter (Hart n.d.: 1). Mackay was linked 
by marriage to the Mcintosh family. Mary Catherine Mackay had mar- 
ried William Mcintosh, son of John Mohr Mcintosh, one of the original 
Iverness Scotsmen to settle in the colony (Wylly 1916:6; Counter, 1940:4). 
Although Andrew Mackay died in 1769, William Mcintosh and his 
brother, Lachlan, apparently continued planting on the island, as it was 
still under cultivation at the time of the Revolution. Even as late as 1776 
Lachlan Mcintosh had complained that a British schooner had taken 
slaves and other valuables from Sapelo (Vanstory 1956:45). 

Upon the death of Mackay in 1769, ownership of Sapelo advanced to 
Mackay's widow and stepson; both wished to sell the island (Wylly 1916: 
6-7). However, lack of communication and the war had caused a long 
delay in its sale. John McQueen, a South Carolinian, eventually pur- 
chased Sapelo from the Mackay Estate in 1784. Educated in England, 
McQueen had first brought ribbon cane to the United States from Jama- 
ica and distributed it among his Georgia friends (Coulter 1940:113). 

McQueen lived in plantation splendor far beyond his means. Finally, 
debts forced him to flee to East Florida where he became a Spanish 
citizen (Hart n.d.:l). The island again changed hands in 1789 when 
McQueen sold Sapelo, Little Sapelo, Blackbeard, and Cabretta Islands to 
Francis Marie Loys Dumoussay Delavauxe for £10,000. Shortly after- 
wards, in 1790, a petition was filed in the Liberty County Court to divide 
the islands into equal shares among Dumoussay Delavauxe, Julien Joseph 
Hyacinth De Chappedelaine, Pierre Caeser Picot DeBois Feuillet, Chris- 
topher Poullain Dubignon, and Grand Clos Mesle (Wilson 1969:103). In 
this agreement the islands were to be divided into five parts. Each co- 
partner could live anywhere on the islands and enclose from 600 to 800 
acres of land for his own use. General accounts were to be kept and all 
bills and accounts were to be exhibited and paid by a manager. In 
addition to escaping the French Revolution, the purchase was made for 
speculative purposes, one of which is purported to have been the breed- 
ing and sale of slaves; however, there are no records to indicate that this 
plan was ever developed (Coulter 1940:39). In 1793 a French deed of sale 
was filed in Liberty County from Francis Marie Loys Dumoussay Dela- 
vauxe and Julien Joseph Hyacinth De Chappedelaine to Nicholas Francis 
Magon De Ville Huchet and Grand Clos Mesle (Wilson 1969:101). 

The French attempt to further develop Sapelo was doomed from the 
start. DeVille Huchet was unable to adjust to island life, and soon 
returned to France (Hart n.d.:2). Dubignon distrusted Dumoussay Dela- 
vauxe, left Sapelo, and eventually became the owner of Jekyll Island to 
the south (Coulter 1940:39; Vanstory 1956:176-177; Hart n.d.:2; Wylly 
1916:9). Picot De Bois Feuillet remained on Sapelo but not without some 
contentions. Before leaving France for the island, De Bois Feuillet had 
sent large sums of money to his nephew, De Chappedelaine, with instruc- 
tions to purchase lands and slaves and to build a home for De Bois 
Feuillet's family. Response from De Chappedelaine described glowing 
progress in all areas. Not until De Bois Feuillet wrote of his impending 
arrival did his nephew finally purchase the fifth individual share of 
Sapelo. The remainder of De Bois Feuillet's money reportedly went to 
gambling (Wylly 1916:8). When De Bois Feuillet reached Savannah in 
1789 with his wife and only daughter, Natalie, he found only the most 
meager house, a few slaves and no facilities for the household servants he 
had brought from France. Furious, De Bois Feuillet order De Chappede- 
laine off his property, threatning to kill him if he ever returned. De Chap- 

pedelaine nevertheless did return in De Bois Feuillet's absence, perhaps 
to ask his aunt to intercede for him or to see the beautiful Natalie ( Wylly 
1916:8). When De Bois Feuillet unexpectedly returned home, a duel 
followed. De Chappedelaine was badly wounded in the fight, and De Bois 
Feuillet was placed under arrest for assault with intent to kill. He was rep- 
resented by Joseph Clay of Camden County and was acquitted. De Bois 
Feuillet was so grateful to Clay that he offered the attorney Natalie's hand 
in marriage. Clay was already married, however, but mentioned that he 
had an unwed brother, Ralph. Years later Natalie married Ralph Clay of 
Bryan County and bore him five children. 

Dumoussay Delavauxe died on Sapelo in 1794 at the age of forty. 
Though he never saw his dreams for Sapelo materialize, he anticipated 
success right up to the time of his death. De Chappedelaine also died that 
same year (Coulter 1940:39; Hart n.d.:2). Picot De Bois Feuillet and his 
wife remained on Sapelo at their home called Bourbon for many years 
but finally returned to Bryan County to be near Natalie. 

The original share owned by Grande Clos Mesle was sold to the 
Marquis De Montalet, a former planter from Santo Domingo ( Vanstory 
1956:46; Lovell 1933:97; Coulter 1940:39). Upon the death of his young 
wife, the Marquis moved from the mainland to Sapelo and resided in his 
home called "Le Chatelet" with his companion, the Chevalier de la 
Home. Remains of "Le Chatelet," a name transformed to "Chocolate" by 
island slaves, still stand today (Figure 1). Monsier de Montalet and his 
friend lived quietly at Chocolate. These elderly Frenchmen occasionally 
entertained, but much of their time was spent cultivating their gardens 
and training Cupidon, their black chef. Montalet was so delighted with 
Cupidon that he eventually placed the cordon bleu over the kitchen door 
(Vanstory 1956:46; Lovell 1933:98). Lengen describes the two old gentle- 
men as spending many morning and evening hours leading a pig on a 
lease through the thicket, searching for truffles, because "the eating of 
these make man more gentle and women more tender" (Wylly 1916:10; 
Lovell 1933:113). 

In 1802 Thomas Spalding purchased 4000 acres on the south end of 
Sapelo and for a time was neighbor to the Marquis. After the Marquis and 
the Chevalier died, Chocolate was sold to a Danish seaman, Captain 
Swarbeck. The Captain replaced or restored many of the tabby struc- 
tures and lived at Chocolate until the early 1830s when a northerner, Dr. 
C. W. Rogers took up residence (Lovell 1933:114-116). A slab or marble 
purportedly from the Marquis' grave was placed above the door of Dr. 
Rogers barn, which still stands today. Spalding eventually purchased all 
of Sapelo with the exception of 650 acres on the eastern side of the island 
at Racoon Bluff. 

The name of Thomas Spalding is tightly bound to the name of Sapelo 
Island. Born March 25, 1774 on St. Simons Island, Thomas was the only 
child of James and Margery Mcintosh Spalding and was heir to the wealth 

On' ° ° 

Figure 1 
Sapelo Island: Chocolate Field. 

and reputation of two of the most influential families on the Georgia 
coast. Well educated in his youth, Thomas developed a diversity of 
interests and took seriously his responsibilities as a leading citizen. He was 
admitted to the bar in 1795 and in that same year married Sally Leake, 
only child of Richard Leake, a distinguished coastal planter. The Spald- 
ings lived on St. Simons Island at their estate called Orange Grove, where 
Thomas accumulated land and slaves. In 1800 the Spaldings traveled to 
Europe, where Thomas spent much of his time observing the organi- 
zation and economic life of the people. He regularly attended sessions of 
Parliament in London (Coulter 1940:20). These experiences deeply im- 
pressed him, and throughout his life Spalding often referred to what he 
had learned during his overseas trip. 

Upon his return from Europe, Spalding purchased Sapelo and served 
in both the Georgia Senate and the United States Congress between 1803 
and 1806. Resigning from Congress in 1806, Spalding returned to Georgia, 
and though always active in local events, he never again left his Sapelo 
home for extended periods of time (Coulter 1940:15-35). He devoted his 
time to plantation business and writing and became one of the leading 
agriculturalists of his day. Although Spalding was well read on cotton 
production and published several articles on its growth and development, 
he also was an experimenter and believed that crop diversification was 
necessary; dependence on cotton alone, he reasoned, would lead to 
financial ruin. 

Spalding developed an agricultural program that stressed not only 
growth of staple crops but the importance of secondary crops and the 
promotion of new products. He encouraged his neighbors to diversify by 
his own example and through publications (King 1966:122). He experi- 
mented with indigo and silk, olives and oranges, and with crop rotation 
and reversible plows. 

Spalding's highest hopes for diversification lay in sugar cane. He first 
began experimenting with cane in 1806 (Coulter 1940:111). Although 
Major Butler, John McQueen, and a few others earlier began planting 
sugar cane, Spalding was looked upon as the father of the sugar industry 
in Georgia (Coulter 1940:121). By 1816 he was able to write a detailed 
description of sugar production, complete with itemized cost estimates 
and specifications for the sugar works (Coulter 1940:230-247). The re- 
mains of the Sapelo sugar works were archaeologically investigated in 
1976 and generally followed Spalding's descriptions with a few excep- 
tions. Spalding possibly was describing ideal operations, modifying in- 
adequacies from his experience (Crook and O'Grady 1977:385). 

Spalding's success in sugar production steadily increased through 
the 1820s, partially due to the tariff placed on raw sugar during the War of 
1812. Though the tariff was reduced soon after the war, prices continued 
to run high until the early 1830s when sugar production slowed down. By 
the 1840s no more than twenty planters in Georgia raised sugar commer- 

cially, all of these coastal planters. Spalding believed the reason for this 
decline to be low prices and lack of tariff protection (Coulter 1940:124- 
127). During this period Spalding had not neglected cotton, and was one 
of the largest sea island cotton planters on the Georgia coast. He also 
grew substantial amounts of rice, and in 1835 developed a method of 
transporting rice bundles from the fields using wooden rollers and tracks, 
which proved to be particularly beneficial in lessening the labor of his 

Spalding accepted the institution of slavery with misgivings. His 
response to such a fixed institution in the social and economic order of 
the time was to moderate it as much as possible. He developed incentive 
programs and allotted to his slaves some free time for private interests. 
Supervision was handled by himself or black overseers and managers. 
Unique among Spalding's slaves was a black Mohammedan named Bu 
Allah. Patriarch of the Sapelo slaves, Bu Allah was considered second in 
command on Sapelo. Traditions and legends which persisted after his 
death inspired Joel Chandler Harris to base two fictional works on Bu 
Allah's life (Coulter 1940:83-84; Vanstory 1956:49-50). Spalding's trust 
and respect for Bu Allah was such that during the War of 1812, he secured 
muskets which he gave to Bu Allah, with orders to drill the slaves and 
protect Sapelo in the event of a British attack (Coulter 1940:82-86; 
Vanstory 1956:49). Bu Allah also was responsible for saving many lives in 
the hurricane of 1824. 

Hurricanes were a cause of great concern on the coastal islands and 
Spalding believed they were becoming more frequent in his time. In 1804, 
1813, and 1819, gale forces struck the coast, causing death and destruc- 
tion. The hurricane of September, 1824 was one of the worst to hit the 
coast of Georgia, and it struck hardest on the exposed coast of Sapelo, 
causing a wall of water six feet high to sweep across much of the island. 
Spalding's entire crop, all his sheep, 250 head of cattle, and twenty seven 
horses and mules were destroyed. In addition, eight or nine lives were lost 
(Coulter 1940:48). Other fierce gales were to hit Sapelo later, but none 
was as devastating as the hurricane of 1824. 

In spite of Spalding's driving interest in his work, he was a devoted 
family man, and soon after going to Sapelo he built his south end 
mansion. Constructed of tabby, the structure was solid and low, built to 
resist summer heat, winter cold, and the hurricanes which blew in from 
the sea; the structure withstood the 1824 hurricane. Spalding planned his 
home for future generations as well as his own. He and Sarah produced 
sixteen children, suggestive of a certain guarantee that Spaldings would 
occupy "the big house" for many years to come. Ironically, this was not to 

For nearly half a century the Spaldings lived on Sapelo. Sarah died in 
1834; the living children had reached adulthood by this time and had 
moved to the mainland. Spalding outlived five of his seven sons. Of his 

remaining two sons, Charles had no children, and his only hope for a 
continuation of the Spalding name rested with Randolph. Spalding died 
in 1851, and willed the plantation to Randolph's son, Thomas Spalding II. 
For the next ten years Sapelo was a part-time home for the Spalding 

Civilians vacated Sapelo at the outbreak of the Civil War. Confed- 
erate soldiers were stationed on the island for a short time in 1861, but 
they too were soon evacuated. After the war Sapelo was occupied during 
Reconstruction by outsiders. When the Spalding heirs finally regained 
their property, the deteriorated mansion was uninhabitable. The family 
lived in smaller houses for some years but eventually sold off parts of the 
property to various owners (Vanstory 1956:49-50). Fields were allowed to 
overgrow to provide cover for birds and game. 

In 1911 Howard Coffin, the Hudson automobile manufacturer, visit- 
ed Sapelo, became intrigued by its beauty, and in 1912 bought the island. 
The south end home was restored by Coffin and was used as a vacation 
retreat for nearly ten years, when he decided to rebuild and remodel the 
mansion. Coffin's cousin, Alfred W. Jones was in charge in Coffin's 
absence, and between them they rebuilt the island empire. Wells were 
drilled, and roads and bridges were built. The mansion was remodeled 
and enlarged. Eventually the "big house" became Coffin's permanent 
home, and once again Sapelo offered hospitality to its visitors. Among 
these visitors were Charles Lindbergh, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert 
Hoover (Vanstory 1956:51-52; Hart n.d.:2). 

Twenty five years after the Coffins bought Sapelo, Howard Coffin 
died. Its next owner was tobacco magnate Richard J. Reynolds of North 
Carolina. Reynolds continued Coffin's practice of large scale farming, 
cattle breeding, and experimentation. He promoted the growth of wild- 
life and bird retreats on uncultivated parts of Sapelo and sponsored 
several educational programs, including the establishment of a Marine 
Research Foundation in 1954 (Vanstory 1956:63; Hart n.d.:2). 

In 1969 the northern portion of Sapelo was purchased by the State of 
Georgia from Reynold's widow and presently served as a wildlife refuge. 
The southern end of the island, which was utilized by the Marine Re- 
search Foundation, was later acquired by the State and is now the 
location of the University of Georgia Marine Institute. Descendents of 
Thomas Spalding's slaves make their homes at Hog Hammock; and 
Sapelo continues today much as it did in Thomas Spalding's time, with 
research and experimentation as major themes. 


By Morgan R. Crook, Jr. and Patricia D. O'Grady 

Production of sugar and molasses was a major enterprise in the 
southern United States during the first decades of the 19th century. 
Louisiana was the prime area of the industry, followed by Florida, then 
Georgia and South Carolina. Much information is available from docu- 
mentary sources for this period, however little is known archeologically 
of construction details and material culture associated with the early 
sugar industry. Archaeological investigations consisting of structural 
mapping and exploratory excavation at Spalding's Sugar Works Site on 
Sapelo Island, Georgia, provides some detail of sugar operations ( Figures 
1 and 2). The investigations were conducted during the summer of 1976 
as a portion of a West Georgia College Archaeological Field School 
under the supervision of Lewis H. Larson, Jr., Professor of Anthropology, 
West Georgia College. 

This report represents an attempt to integrate the archaeological 
and historical record to address questions of the history of sugar oper- 
ations at the site. First a brief examination of the economic matrix of 
which sugar production was a part is made to determine the influences 
which gave rise to the industry, fostered its continuance, and eventually 
led to its demise. Next the operations associated with sugar production 
are examined, looking at their productive advantages and concomitant 
problems. Results of the archaeological investigations are then discus- 
sed, followed by a concluding section which summarizes the documen- 
tary information and recovered archaeological data. 


During the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, market values of the 
agricultural staples (indigo, sugar, Sea- Island cotton, and rice) of the South- 
ern Atlantic Coast fluctuated depending on trade relations, foreign compe- 
tition, and market competition between the staples themselves. Sugar pro- 
duction developed and fell as a result of these economic circumstances. 

*Reprinted by permission from Industrial Archaeology, Vol. 13, No. 4, Pp. 318- 
385. Published by Graphmitre Ltd., 1 West Street, Tavistock, Devon, England. 




50 100 


Figure 1 
Sapelo Island and the Sugar Works Site. 


magnetic North 

Figure 2 
Spalding's Sugar Works. 


Indigo was commercially grown in the Southern States during most of 
the 18th century. Produced in Louisiana as early as 1725, the crop became an 
important staple until the last decade of the century when competition with 
superior Guatemalian indigo along with pressures of rivaling cotton and rice 
production led to its decline. Indigo was produced along the South Atlantic 
Seaboard; however, only in Florida where wild indigo was found in abun- 
dance and climatic conditions were well suited, did the crop develop eco- 
nomically. Here the industry also declined under the pressure of Guate- 
malian and new crop competition. Early production experiments were made 
in Georgia and the Carolinas, but the crop never gained a secure market 
because of a limited growing season and inferior crop quality (Gray 1933:73, 

Commercial rice cultivation developed along side indigo and continued 
long after the ingido industry had collapsed. Employment of irrigation in 
inland swamp areas increased production during the first half of the 18th 
century. Production increased most dramatically during the last decades of 
the colonial period with the utilization of tidal swamps and marsh areas, 
which allowed effective weed control, insect control, and fertilization through 
daily flooding and draining of the prepared rice fields. However, areas well 
suited to tidal irrigation were limited to river areas from the lower Cape Fear 
River to around Jacksonville, Florida Portions of South Carolina and Georgia 
were less favourable for tidal irrigation because of labour scheduling prob- 
lems resulting from exceptionally high tides which occurred twice daily 
(Gray 1933:289, 721). 

Whereas the indigo market declined, rice production continued with 
developing cotton and sugar. The rice market often fluctuated with the 
cotton market. When prices were good for cotton, planters tended to neglect 
food-crops, increasing the demand for rice. The cotton industry began to 
develop commercially during the last decades of the 18th century in response 
to the declined indigo industry and peaked around 1805, after which prices 
were sporadically lower. Cotton depended heavily upon a foreign market. 
The embargo of 1808 and trade restrictions imposed by the War of 1812 led to 
decreased production. Conversely, the war had an advantageous effect on 
the rice market, owing to increased demands for foodstuffs (Gray 1933:725, 

Rice and cotton prices were sporadically higher following the war. Rice 
production increased from 1820 until 1835, leading to depressed market 
prices. Cotton production suffered from a tariff imposed from 1827 to 1833. 
Removal of the tariff resulted in a 45% increase in cotton prices. Prices were 
more or less stabilized at a high level from this time until the Civil War (Gray 
1933:739). Market prices for rice were briefly elevated around 1835, however 
competition with inexpensive East Indian rice returned prices to low levels 
until 1860 (Gray 1933:726). 

The sugar industry developed in relation to the other staples. Com- 
merical production began around 1795 in Louisiana after indigo production 


was commercially abandoned. By the first years of the 19th century the 
industry had grown substantially, depending heavily upon an American 
market. Price depressions in cotton from 1805 until after the War of 1812 
provided new impetus for sugar production. Thomas Spalding began his 
milling operations during this period. He first planted cane in 1806 and 
between then and 1813 he initiated milling operations (Spalding 1937:230). 
Trade restrictions preceding the War of 1812 made the purchase of his 
milling machinery, available from English factories, very expensive. Spalding 
writes, "My progress to successfulness was obstructed by the non-importa- 
tion act, by the embargo act, and finally by the war up to the year 1814. My 
Sugar works, in consequence of these obstructing causes, were very costly 
..." (Spalding 1829a:55). 

The sugar industry expanded following the war due to protection from 
foreign competition by a stiff revenue duty on imported sugar, growing home 
market demands, and unstable rice and cotton markets. The conditions 
favorable to increased production are noted in an 1828 letter printed in the 
Southern Agriculturalist: 

"If all those who could make Sugar, would commence and quit the 
Cotton business, those who could not make Sugar, would get a 
better price for their Cotton .... There is no danger of glutting 
the Sugar market, for our country has too little Cane land, to supply 
the growing demand, which increases faster than the population. 
The Tariff of three cents per pound is ample protection." (McCoy 

As a consequence of the protected home market afforded the sugar 
industry, prices were much more stable than cotton or rice. This provided the 
planter a predictable income source which complemented the fluctuating 
prices of his other crops. 

Sugar prices remained stable until 1832, when import duties were lowered 
to about 60% of the American market value. This, along with deflated foreign 
markets and increases in cotton and rice prices, led to the abandonment of 
the sugar industry on many estates (Gray 1933:745). 


When the sugar market was healthy, cane cultivation offered the planter 
several advantages, but production was not without complications. One 
important advantage was that sugar operations did not conflict with the 
planting and harvest of other plantation crops. Rice was usually planted 
between the middle of March and the middle of May, and was harvested by 
September (Knapp 1900: 12-13). Sea- Island cotton was planted between the 
middle of March and the first week of April. Picking the cotton began around 
the last week in August, and re-picking continued until about the middle of 
December (Hammond 1896:230). Cane planting began in mid-October. It 
could be continued over a five-month period and finished prior to rice and 
cotton planting. The cane crop was harvested in October and November, 


after rice harvest and the first heavy cotton picking (Spalding 1828:553). 
Gregorie (1829:99) notes that, 

"the cane harvest arrives at a time when the planter's attention 
can be fully given to his plantation affairs .... Even after frost, 
if another crop requires immediate care, as for instance, picking 
in Sea-Island Cotton, the canes can be laid in matresses and in that 
state will keep during the Winter, producing nearly as much as 

The successful preservation of cane for seed was a crucial development 
for the planter. Otherwise planting the next crop and processing the present 
one would have had to occur simultaneously. This problem plagued Spalding 
in his early attempts at sugar production. He wrote in 1816 that before cane 
mattressing was employed, it was "impossible to plant more than a portion of 
your Cane, before you had to employ all your people in Manufacturing, and 
preparing your Sugar for Market" (Spalding 1937:231). 

Once cane was ripe for sugar, harvesting and processing had to be 
accomplished in a short period of time, for cold-damaged cane produced 
inferior sugar if any at all. Fields were divided by roads in high lands and 
canals in low to allow expeditious cutting and loading of the cane on ox carts 
or flats bound for the millhouse. Milling operations were constantly supplied 
with fresh cane from the fields, the mill and boilers being worked night and 

Expressed cane juice from the mill was passed through a gutter to the 
nearby boiling-house. Here the juice was clarified with lime, then passed into 
the largest of four successively smaller copper boilers (Spalding 1937:243- 
241). At first successful reduction of cane juice to sugar was dependent upon 
the skill and experience of the supervisor (Spalding 1937:241-242); however, 
by 1828 thermometers were used to determine the correct final boiling 
temperature (Spalding 1828:555). 

The hot sugar- molasses mixture was placed in coolers, then transported 
in barrels to the adjoining curing-house. Molasses drained from the cooled 
mixture, leaving raw sugar in the barrels (Spalding 1937:243). The raw sugar 
was judged to be of good competitive quality, proper boiling resulting in light 
coloured grains. Refinement to pure white sugar was considered prohibi- 
tively expensive, therefore processing ended with the raw product (Spalding 
1829b: 101). 

Nearby Darien, Georgia, was at least one market for the manufactured 
sugar and molasses. The molasses also supplied a distillery operated in 
Darien for the production of rum. "Darien sugar soon became such a staple 
that quotation of the market for that commodity there began to appear in the 
Savannah newspapers in 1818" (Floyd 1937:95). 

Thomas Spalding published fairly detailed descriptions of the facilities 
associated with his sugar works. He gives us the following of his millhouse: It 


"forty-one feet in diameter, of tabby, and octagonal in its form . . . 

the outer walls of this building are sixteen feet high. Upon these 

walls run a well connected plate, and over it is erected an octagonal 

roof, meeting in a point. Within about seven feet distance from the 

outer wall, is a circular inner wall, which rises ten feet; and from this 

wall to the outer one is a strong joint work, which is covered with 

two-inch Planks for a Tread for the Mules, Horses, or Oxen, that 

work the Mill .... there are two several [sic] doors, at opposite 

sides of the Mill-House in the lower story; the one for bringing 

cane to the Mill, and the other for carrying out the expressed cane; 

and these doors are six feet wide. There is also a door in the upper 

story with an inclined plane leading to it, to carry up the Mules, 

Horses, or Oxen that work the Mill." (Spalding 1937:236) 

The mill was a vertical type, consisting of three wrought-iron covered 

wooden roolers. The machinery was elevated above the ground surface on a, 

"strong foundation of masonry, eight feet high, so as to be within two feet of a 

level with the Horse-way . . ." (Spalding 1937:237). Cane was fed through the 

rollers from the lower level and initially the expressed juice flowed through a 

gutter into receivers located in the boiling-house where it was clarified with 

the addition of lime. Later the juice was clarified in wooden vessels located in 

the millhouse (Spalding 1828:555), then transported to the boiling-house. 

The boiling-house contained a set of graduated copper boilers, cypress 
coolers, and initially the clarifiers. The boilers, 

"are built into a solid mass of brick-work on one side of the boiling- 
house. The fire being lead [sic] from the smallest boilers, under which 
it burns, upon grating-bars, which admit the ashes to fall into the 
ash-pit below. The heat is so kept in by the Mason-work, that the 
second and third boilers boil as furiously as the first, and so would 
the fourth but for the frequent supply of cold juice which is drawn 
from the receiver into it. 

Opposite to the Boilers, on the side and end of the house, are ranged 
eight Coolers, made of cypress two inch plank, of an oblong form, 
and ten inches deep, which contain a tierce of Sugar each. These 
coolers receive the syrup out of the track or smallest boiler, and in 
them in granulates as it cools." (SPalding 1937:241). 
The cooled sugar and molasses mixture was then transported to the 
adjoining curing-house to separate. 

"The curing-house is united to the boiling-house, and makes with 
it the form of and [sic] L or T ... In the curing-house, strong joists 
cross from side to side, at fifteen inches apart, resting at the end upon 
an abutment wall. The bottom of the house, is two inclined planes, 
of two feet descent, that discharges the molasses into a gutter in the 
middle. This gutter also inclines a little to one end, where it empties 
itself into a close cistern containing two thousand gallons. —The 


cistern may be made of cypress plank, rammed at the bottom and sides 
with clay." (Spalding 1937:243). 


The structural remains of the Sugar Works Site were mapped as a 
portion of the archaeological investigations (Figure 2). In addition, two 
exploratory units (five feet by ten feet) were excavated in the mill-house and 
the area immediately east of the boiling/ curing-house was probed for founda- 
tion remains. 

The recorded structural remains of the mill-house generally support 
Spalding's descriptions; however, some of his measurements seem exag- 
gerated (see Figure 3). The mill-house had an outer octagonal wall; each 
length 18 feet long, one foot wide, and approximately 13 feet high. The wall 
was constructed of form-poured tabby zones, 1 1 inches high and one foot 
wide, which extended the full length of each wall (18 feet). The wall form, 
evidently consisting of two planks, was held in place by one-inch diameter 
wooden dowels and occasionally metal pegs. The dowels were placed through 

UNIT 1030 R942 




Figure 3 





the planks near the top and base, each pair separated from the other by one 
foot, eight inches. Tabby was poured into the form to the level of the upper 
dowels and the surface was smoothed. After the tabby was set, the form was 
dismantled and the upper dowels were used in the base of the next form. This 
procedure continued until the walls reached their full height. The wall then 
received an l /4 inch to V2 inch plastered veneer (Plate 1). 

One opening, probably a door-way, remains in the southern portion of 
the octagon wall. The door-way is two feet, six inches wide and sue feet, six 
inches high. Presumably other door-ways were located north of the remain- 
ing one, through the circular inner wall and in the northern portion of the 
octagon wall (Plate 2). 

Plate 1 
Southwestern section of the Octagon Wall (outer face). View to the northeast. 


The circular inner wall is connected to the outer octagon by a tabby wall 
five feet, six inches long, constructed in the same manner as the octagon wall. 
The circular inner wall was constructed following the same procedure as that 
used for the octagon wall, however some details differ. The tabby was poured 
into forms two feet high and of undetermined length. These curved forms 
were held by rectangular wooden pieces (% inch by 2 inch), spaced at three 
feet, six inch intervals. Only two of the poured zones remain, however the 
wall was originally about eight feet, six inches high, based on the height of the 
connecting wall and the position of support-beam holes in the inner face of 
the octagon wall. 

Plate 2 
Southern section of the Octogon Wall (inner face). View to the south. 


The animal tread of the mill-house connected the inner and outer walls. 
Spalding states that the tread was made of two-inch planks covering a strong 
joint-work. The holes remaining in the inner face of the octagon wall indicate 
that the joint-work consisted of four inch by six inch beams. One end of th 
beams was placed in the octagon wall as the form was being poured The 
other end apparently rested in or upon the inner wall. The orientations of the 
beams as indicated by the angles of the remaining holes are shown in Figure 3. 
The tread was elevated about eight feet, six inches above the mill floor, based 
on the height of the beam holes. 

Spalding states that access to the tread was by an inclined plane. The rec- 
tangular appendage at the southern end of the mill-house is interpreted as the 
foundation for this inclined plane. Construction details of the appendage are 
the same as those of the octagon wall (Plate 3). 

Plate 3 
Probabie foundation of inclined plane leadint to the animal tread View to 
the northeast. 


One exploratory unit (Unit 1005R932) was excavated in the interior of 
the mill-house, approximately two feet east of the circular inner wall. Two 
structural features were encountered in the unit (Figure 4). The northern face 

V*Z6M SOOI 326H 0001 § 


Figure 4 

Structural features in the interior of the Mill-House. 

See page 26 for profile symbol key. 


of a tabby construction was located along the southern wall of the excavation 
unit (Plate 4). The feature was constructed of poured tabby and had a thin 
plastered veneer upon its surface. A narrow discoloration line was observed 
on the plastered face of the feature, possibly indicating the position of a floor. 
A layer of shell was located immediately beneath the feature which would 
have served as a footing when the tabby was poured. This construction is 
probably part of the mill machinery foundation described by Spalding. 
Beneath the western end of the foundation the shell deposit increased in 

Plate 4 
Excavatiorrunit 1005R932. Possible clarifying vat in upper central portion of 
the photograph and probable mill machinery foundation to the left. View to 
the west. 


depth to about one foot, six inches beneath the base of the feature. This 
deposit extended across the excavation unit, roughly perpendicular to the 
foundation. The function of the shell deposit is uncertain, however it may 
have provided a bed for the gutter than Spalding mentions to have carried 
expressed cane juice to the boiling- house. 

The other feature encountered in the excavation unit was a curvate 
stone and tabby-mortar construction with a plastered floor roughly eight 
inches below the present top of the stone and mortar wall (Plate 5). The 
junction of the plastered floor and wall received an extra coating of the 
plaster mixture, suggesting the structure was designed to hold a liquid. The 
function of the feature is undetermined, but it may have been a clarifying vat 
for the expressed cane juice. 

Plate 5 
Excavation unit 1030R942. Northern face of Octagon Wall foundation. 

The artifacts recovered from the excavation unit were generally 
confined to a tabby rubble zone which extended two feet beneath the 
present surface. The artifact frequencies and distribution are summar- 
ized in Table 1 . With the possible exception of two sherds, the aboriginal 
pottery recovered certainly represents pottery which accompanied the 
shell borrowed for tabby construction from aboriginal shell middens. 




Feet below the surface 



















Aboriginal Pottery 
Wilmington Residual 
Grit Tempered Plain 
Grit Temp. Stamped 
Plain Gr/Sa Temp. 
Sand Temp. Residual 







European Ceramics 

Polychrome trans. 









Bottle Fragments 
Pepsi, modern 
Coca Cola 



body sherd '1915' 
base sherd 




Pink pressed glass 



Miscellaneous Frag. 






Clear, patinated 









Tubing, 1/4 in o.d. 
Tubing, 1/8 in o.d. 
Tubing, 1/16 in o.d. 




Light bulb 






Round, wire 

Square, cut 



Light Bulb Base 








Door Bolt 
Door Hook 
Stove Door** 
Corregated Fragment 
Miscellaneous Frag. 







Long Bone Frag. 



Charred Wood Frag. 
Charcoal Frag. 
Wood Fragments 
Brick Fragments 
Mortar Chunks 
Mortar, Flatsided 
Quartz Pebble 
Diabase Frag. 
Sandstone Frag. 
Unid. Lithic Frag. 
Modern Pocket Knife 










2# + 

*electrical utility 
**sheet-metal, round 
+ fragmented 
#2-1/2 pounds 

The whiteware sherds recovered were restricted to the humus and 
rubble zones of the excavation unit. The English flooded American 
markets with transfer-printed cream and white earthenware until tariffs 
were raised in the 1800s (Ketchum 1971:120-121). Whiteware material 
was in use throughout the 19th century and could date to the early 1800s; 
however, since all the sherds were associated in or above the tabby rubble 
zone, they appear to have been deposited after milling operations were 


The glassware recovered was also from the rubble zone and appears 
to post-date milling operations. Two pink fragments of pressed glass were 
recovered from the rubble zone. Pressed glass was first produced around 
1827 and began to be fire-polished after 1850 (Lorrain 1968:38, 39). It was 
impossible to determine if the glass had been fire-polished because the 
rubble contained numerous charred materials and ash, evidencing a fire. 

The machined nails represented were first produced in the early 
1850s (Noel Hume 1969:254). The remainder of the artifacts, excepting 
the wood fragment,, appear to be post 1850 in origin. The wood frag- 


1026.7 R937 

1026.2 R942 


1030 R937 

1030 R942 

'\ / 'V'\ /> \ / "'\ 

1020 R937 






Figure 5 

Structural features in the northern face of the circular inner wall. 

See next page for legend. 




". .,..<• i' ■ 11 





± ■■■* -° 







r djj£uLiL£ 




ments recovered from the 1.5 to 2.0 foot level were located at the base of 
the level along with sections of poorly preserved planks. The remains of 
floor or possibly roof materials may be represented by these fragments. 

The second exploratory unit (Unit 1030R942) was excavated just 
north of the northern face of the circular inner wall. One structural feature 
and a dog interment were encountered in the unit (see Figure 5 and Plates 5 and 
6). The structural feature consisted of the stone foundation of the octa- 
gon wall. The foundation was constructed of four layers of stone set in 
mortar. Stones used in the second layer were considerably smaller than 
those of the other layers. The foundation rested on a thin layer of mortar. 
The stone used may have been obtained from one of the ballast dump 
areas located just south of Sapelo Island. 

A mature dog had been buried just north of the octagon wall. The 
burial pit was intrusive into the ashy brown sand zone from the above 
tabby rubble zone. The pit contained tabby rubble fill, indicating the dog 
was buried after the mill-house wall had fallen. The dog was left in situ. 

The artifacts recovered from the unit were not confined to the tabby 
rubble zone as in the other excavated unit. This probably indicates that 

Plate 6 
Excavation unit 1020R942: dog interment. View to the east. 


the wall fell at a later date in this area rather than association of the 
artifacts with milling operations. Stratigraphically the area appeared 
quite disturbed. The depressed areas of ashy brown sand north and south 
of the wall foundation probably represent areas dug for trash disposal 
before the octagon wall collapsed. 

The recovered artifacts are summarized in Table 2, A through C. 
The artifacts generally date from the middle of the 19th century to 
modern times (presence of aboriginal pottery probably due to shell 
borrowing activities). A single lusterware fragment, two ironstone frag- 
ments, one yellowware fragment, and four porcelain fragments were 
found. These wares were in sure during the early 1800s; however, manu- 
facturing continued throughout the century (Ketchem 1971: 120-122). 
The hand-pointed overglazed porcelain was manufactured during the 
second half of the 18th century (Noel Hume 1969:259). The remainder of 
the procelain was undecorated and could date as late as the 20th century 
(Ketchum 1971:145). 




(Table 2A) 

Feet below the surface 





Aboriginal Pottery 

Deptford check-stamped 



Savannah check-stamped 




Savannah complicated-stamped 



Irene complicated-stamped 



San Marcos com. -stamped 



Unidentified grit-tempered 




Unidentified sand-tempered 






European Ceramics 

Porcelain insulator 




Amber fragments 




Clear bottle fragments 



Clear bottle frag, patinated 



Panel bottle frag. "Califig" 



Iron Nails 

Square, cut 



Non-ferrous metal 

Square sheet 




Deer long-bone fragments 









Charred wood 
Tabby Mortar 







(Table 2B) 

Feet below the surface 















Aboriginal Pottery 

Wilmington Plain 



Savannah Check-Stamped 




Unident. Grit-Tempered 



Unident. Grit/Sand Temp. 






European Ceramics 

Porcelain, Plate Base 



Yellow-ware, Annular 



Ironstone, Plain 




Two Part Molded Fragment 

Califig syrup bottle 

Clear, neck and lip 



Aqua, neck and lip 



Square, base and side 



Aqua Window Pane 



Lamp Chimney 



Miscellaneous Fragments 





Clear, patinated 




Dark green 




Green, patinated 






Aqua, patinated 




White, frosted 




Iron Nails 

Square, cut 



Square, cut, Fencing 






Squirrel Long Bone Frag. 

Squirrel Fragments 

Deer Fragments 

Dog Fragments 

Raccoon Fragments 

Possible Young Pig Fragments 













Long Bone Fragments 
Scapula Fragment 
Vertebra Fragment 






Radius Fragment 








Charred Wood Fragments 



Brick Fragments 
Tabby Mortar Fragments 
Shist Fragments 
Slate Fragments 









Sandstone Fragments 
Slag Fragments 
Tile Fragment 
Cartridge Case 











(Table 2C) 

Feet below the surface 










Aboriginal Pottery 
Savannah, Check-Stamped 
Unidentified, Grit-Tempered 
Unident. Grit-Tempered, with 
orange paste 

European Ceramics 








Lustreware Fragment 
Ironstone Fragment 



Porcelain Fragments 
Hand-painted Overglaze 







Three part hinged molded 
Two part hingedmolded 




Molded Fragment 




Clear, leaf design 



Miscellaneous Fragments 





Clear, patinated 










Amber, patinated 


Dark green 

Dark green, patinated 










Round, wire 



Square, cut 











Kettle Fragments 



Flat Fragments 





Strip Fragments 



Plunger, Spray Gun Type 
Wire Handle 





Squirrel Mandible Fragments 




Squirrel Long Bone Frag. 
Squirrel Pelvis Fragments 
Squirrel Sacrum Fragment 





Squirrel Vertebra Frag. 




Squirrel Skull Frag. 
Molar Root 




Long Bone Fragments 
Unidentified Fragments 








Charred Wood Fragments 



Tar, Petroleum Based 




Brick Fragments 



Sedimentary Lithic Frag. 



indicates intact bottles 

The glassware recovered includes bottles and fragments, some table- 
ware, windowpane glass, lamp chimney fragments, and miscellaneous 
fragments. A three-part molded bottle (possibly a bitters bottle) and a 
two-part molded bottle (probably a small medicine bottle) were found 
south of the octagon wall. The three-part mold was introduced around 
1810 and continued to be used after the development of the two-part 
mold, which occurred in 1840 (Lorrain 1968:38, 40). One fragment of 
clear pressed glass was also recovered from this location. The fragment 
appeared to be fire polished which would date it post-1850 (Lorrain 
1968:39); however, evidence of fire in the area makes this uncertain. A 
partial Califig Syrup bottle was recovered north of the wall. This lettered 
panel bottle dates to after 1867 (Lorrain 1968:40). The remaining artifacts 
date from after 1850 until essentially modern times. 

The slate fragments recovered north of the octagon wall may repre- 
sent fallen roofing material. The fact that these fragments were located 
outside the wall rather than inside provides some support for the argument. 

The numerous animal bone represented seems to reinforce the 
assertion that the area was used for refuse deposit after milling operations 
were abandoned. The articulated remains of a single squirrel were found 
in the area south of the wall foundation. The articulated condition of the 
squirrel indicates that the animal either died there or was for some reason 
buried, however, a burial pit was not recognized during excavation. Some 
of the other faunal material could represent subsistence remains asso- 
ciated with the milling operations, however this is uncertain because of 
their disturbed context. 

The boiling/curing-house complex bears little resemblence to 
Spalding's description other than being located near the millhouse. The 
structure is presently used for offices by the Georgia Department of 
Natural Resources, and has apparently undergone considerable modification 
since it was originally constructed. For this reason the area east of the 
building was probed to determine the existence of additional structural 
features which would support Spalding's descriptions. The probing results 
were negative. 

The remaining recorded structure was not mentioned in Spalding's 
accounts. The remains of a tabby structure 31 feet wide and 56 feet long 
were located adjacent to Post Office Creek. This building was aligned 
perpendicular to the other structures and was apparently associated. The 


building may have been a storage-house/dock facility for the processed 
cane products. The presence of numerous slate fragments around the 
structure suggests the roofing material. 

The only other sugar works site archaeologically investigated is the 
ruins of the Elizafield Plantation located 15 miles north of Brunswick, 
Georgia, near Darien (Ford 1937). The sugar works here consisted of an 
octagonal mill-house and a T-shaped boiling and curing house. Unlike 
Spalding's works, the mill-house at Elizafield may have lacked a circular 
inner wall and a foundation for the inclined plane (Ford 1937:195). The 
upper story of the mill was evidently supported by short tabby walls 
extended from the octagon wall towards the interior of the mill-house. 

Many of the sugar processing facilities were still present at the Eliza- 
field site when Ford visited it in 1934. The boiling-house contained the 
fire grate and two vats, probably clarifying vats. One of the vats was oval- 
shaped with a tabby floor. This feature seems to resemble the stone and 
mortar, plastered floor construction located in the mill-house at Spalding's 
works. The mill foundation was also defined at Elizafield. It was construc- 
ted of tabby and closely resembles the mill machinery foundation at 
Spalding's works. Debris possibly associated with milling operations was 
recovered at the site, including hand-wrought nails, nuts, and bolts. The 
cast-iron rollers and gear rack of the mill were also located (Ford 1937: 

It is difficult to determine if many of the artifacts reported from the 
site were temporarily associated with the sugar works. A portion of the 
material probably post-dates mill operations, for Ford notes (1937:196- 
197) that a tabby floor had been constructed over the interior features of 
the boiling-house, suggesting the structure had been put to some other 
use, perhaps as a dwelling. 


Production of sugar and molasses at Spalding's sugar works began 
between 1806 and 1813 in response to unstable rice and cotton markets. 
The cultivation, harvest, and processing of cane was carried on without 
conflict with rice and cotton production, and unlike rice and cotton the 
sugar market was relatively stable and protected by a stiff import duty. 
This allowed the planter to supplement his fluctuating rice and cotton 
income with a predictable and profitable income from his cane crop. 

The sugar market remained stable until the import duties were 
lowered in 1832. This, combined with deflated foreign sugar markets and 
a rise in cotton and rice prices, led to the abandonment of milling 
operations on many estates, and probably also marked the close of 
Spalding's works. The artifacts associated with the site generally support 
this date. Most of the artifacts recovered were post 1850 in origin. Those 
dating before this time were probably discarded with the later items. 


Further, most of the material (including early items such as the hand- 
painted overglazed porcelain) was associated with the rubble of the fallen 
tabby walls, indicating they were deposited after milling operations had 
ceased. The mill-house area was in all probability used as a garbage dump 
beginning shortly after milling operations had been suspended. 

Excavations in or around the other structural remains at the site 
would certainly provide additional information on sugar operations, 
including for example, details of subsistence and material culture asso- 
ciated with the slaves who operated the sugar works. Based on the results 
of the present investigation, sugar operations continued for at least 19 
years at the site. Certainly material associated with the individuals who 
operated the works was lost and discarded during this period. 

The structural remains of the site generally support Spalding's des- 
criptions, with a few important exceptions. His published reports do not 
mention the existence of a storage-house/dock structure. This is perhaps 
because his writings focused on processing operations and facilities 
rather than facilities important once processing was completed. Also the 
door-way of the mill-house was much narrower tha stated in his descrip- 
tion, and the boiling/curing-house complex did not correspond to his des- 
criptions. It is likely that Spalding was describing ideal sugar operation 
facilities, modifying the inadequacies of his own as needed. 



By Lewis H. Larson 

In Havana, on March 20, 1742, Antonio de Arredondo completed his 
Demonstration Historiographica del Derecho de Espana a Nueva Georgia 
in an attempt to establish, "... the right that the Catholic King has to the terri- 
tory in the Provinces and Continent of La Florida, held today by the 
British King under the name New Georgia 1 ' (Bolton 1925:223). In June of 
that year Arredondo was to attempt to press the claim of his sovereign 
while acting as Chief Engineer of the Spanish expedition mounted to 
drive the English from the Georgia coast. The Spanish failed in this effort 
during the Battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island on July 18, 1742. 
Thus ended over two hundred years of Spanish control of the coastal area 
of Georgia, an area known as the Province of Guale. 

Sapelo Island had long played a role in the Spanish control of the 
coast as they sought to protect their sea routes between Mexico and 
Europe and to Christianize the Indians of La Florida. However, Sapelo, 
like the other parts of the Georgia coast, was never the scene of a serious 
colonial undertaking on the part of the Spanish. No New World criollos 
were settled in the Province of Guale, much less immigrants from Spain 
itself. Instead of the farmsteads of colonists, Sapelo was the locale of one 
or more of the missions established in order to, ". . . convert the pagans to 
the adoration of the Holy Cross and to the subjection of Spain" (Bolton 
1925:245). The island was probably the site of a mission at least as early as 
1597, the year of a major rebellion by the Guale against the Franciscan 
priests who had been in the Province preaching the Holy Faith for over 
twenty years. 

Father Luis Geronimo de Ore came to Florida in 1614 and again in 
1616 to conduct visitations to the Order on instructions of the Minister- 
General of the Franciscan Order. Following his 1616 visit, Father Ore 
wrote a history of the 1597 revolt and of the Franciscans who were 
martyred during the first few days of its bloody action. 

Father Ore's Relation apparently was based on interviews with those 
Spanish who were involved in the initial events of the uprising and in the 
subsequent incidents leading to the restoration of Spanish control. Pri- 
mary among the informants of Ore may well have been Father Avila, the 
only Franciscan in the entire Province of the Guale to survive the attacks 
on the missions and their priests. Father Avila was taken captive, and 
although he was subjected to cruelty and indignities he persevered and 
was ransomed after several months. In addition to the informants, Ore 
certainly had access, in the presidio at St. Augustine, to those govern- 
ment and church records that related to the Guale Revolt. 

In his account of his visit, in December 1616, to the Province of 


Guale, Ore tells us that on his return from Santa Isabel, an inland mission, 
". . . we descended by a larger river than the Tagus in canoes to the people 
of the land of Guale. We visited the towns and the six priests in the 
convent of San Jose de Zapala where (the Indians] had martyred one of 
our five martyrs" (Geiger 1936:130). The river, larger than the Tagus, 
down which Ore came to Guale was probably the Altamaha, the only 
river that would have carried the priest to or near Sapelo Island. 

It would seem that the clergy of San Jose de Zapala served a number 
of towns in the area of the doctrina or mission. Perhaps all of these towns 
or visitas were on Sapelo, but then they might well have been on the main- 
land or on some of the larger islands that lay surrounded by marsh 
between Sapelo and the mainland. In any event, the Ore statement offers 
a strong argument that Sapelo was the site of a mission at the time of the 
Guale Revolt in 1597 and that by the time of the 1616 visit of Ore the 
mission had been reestablished and was an important center for Francis- 
can activity in the Province of Guale, with six priests in residence. 

San Jose de Zapala (it is also cited in the documents as Sapala and 
Caala), presumably on Sapelo Island, continued to be listed as a Guale 
mission up to 1680. The abandonment, about 1686, of Santa Catalina de 
Guale on St. Catherines Island immediately to the north, across Sapelo 
Sound, probably brought about the desertion of San Jose at the same time 
or shortly thereafter. Jonathan Dickinson sighted, ". . . an Indian town 
called Appataw," but makes no mention of a mission or other Spanish 
activity located there or in the vicinity as he made his way from St. Augus- 
tine to Charleston in December of 1696 (Andrews and Andrews 1945:90). 
Although the mission of San Jose is on lists compiled for 1655 (Swanton 
1922:322, but with the source unidentified), 1659 (Chatelain 1941:123, 
from manuscripts by Juan Diez de la Calle in the Biblioteca Nacional, 
Madrid), 1675 (Wenhold 1936: 10, in a letter of Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon, 
Bishop of Cuba to the Queen— the list was probably compiled prior to 
June 1675; a second list of that same year is to be found in Boyd 1948:182, 
in a letter from Don Pedro de Hita Salazar, Governor of Florida to the 
Queen and dated August 24, 1675), and 1680 (Chatelain 1941:124, from 
Archives of the Indies, 54-5-11, dated December 8, 1680). There are no 
references to the Spanish on Sapelo after 1680, and the statement of 
Dickinson is the only indication we have of an Indian occupation of the 
island continuing after that date. 

Unfortunately, we are able to identify, by name, but a single priest 
from what must have been a rather substantial group of religious persons 
who served on Sapelo during the long history of its mission. That one 
priest, Father Juan Bauptistas Campafia, is identified at the mission of 
San Jose de Sapala during the year of 1675 (Boyd 1948: 182). It is of some 
interest to note that the mention of Father Campafia in the 1675 mission 
list is accompanied by the only information that we have regarding the 


population of a Spanish establishment on Sapelo. Don Juan de Hita 
Salazar, Governor of the presidio at St. Augustine and compiler of the 
mission list observes that at San Jose, "In round numbers it may have, 
between men, children and women and pagan, fifty persons" (Boyd 

I will not attempt here to describe Guale culture or the effect of 
Spanish control upon it. I have made this effort elsewhere (Larson 1969 
and 1978) and I have little to add to those summaries at this time. 

The extended archaeological survey program carried out from 1974 
through 1979 on Sapelo by West Georgia College has located a number 
of sites on the island with evidence of the Spanish presence. In all 
instances, however, the evidence is limited to ceramics. No architectural 
remains attributable to the Spanish have been defined; nor have there 
been any metal artifacts found that are recognizably Spanish. The Span- 
ish ceramic types that have been recovered include a limited number of 
olive jar sherds and a very few majolica sherds. They have been found 
both on the surface and in excavated test units. In number, these sherds 
are a meager representation indeed for what appears to have been over 
one hundred years of mission activity. 

The sites where Spanish ceramics have been found are the very 
largest sites on the island and are those that are characterized by Savan- 
nah, Irene, and San Marcos types of aboriginal pottery. These sites 
include Kenan Field, Bourbon Field, the area north of the Shell Ring, and 
High Point. In terms of their aboriginal ceramics, soil type, location with 
respect to the marsh and tidal creeks, and drainage, there are other sites 
on the island similar to those just named, but there are not Spanish 
ceramics in the limited surface collections from them. Interestingly, the 
locations of these sites are largely coincident with the locations of build- 
ings (houses?) shown on the DeBrahm map of Sapelo dated 1760 ( Yonge & 
DeBrahm:1760). While the structures that DeBrahm has shown on his 
map are in all likelihood the product of settlement that had occurred 
after the founding of the Georgia colony by Oglethorpe in 1733, they cer- 
tainly appear to have been placed where there may already have been 
clearings or old field situations. 

Beyond Sapelo, on the adjacent mainland, and on hammocks and on 
islands in the marsh, other aboriginal sites with Spanish ceramics have 
been identified (Figure 1). These sites have not only produced olive jar 
and majolica sherds, but in at least one instance, native Mexican wares, 
apparently imported by the Spanish, are represented in the sherd col- 
lections. The presumed Mexican sherds are from the site on St. Cath- 
erines Island. The presence of these Indian sites in the general vicinity of 
Sapelo (they are in relatively large numbers) suggests that not only was 
the locale a focus of considerable missionary attention, but that it was 
also an area with a sizable aboriginal population. Undoubtedly, there was 
more than one mission in the Mcintosh County area during most of the 


Spanish Period; in addition to the mission on Sapelo there must have 
been a mainland mission. The most logical site for the mainland mission 
would have been on the bluff at the place that was to be occupied by Fort 
King George. This fort, built by the Carolinians in 1721, commanded 
access to the interior via the Altamaha River. 



Figure 1 
The central Georgia coastal area and the sites of the Spanish Period that have 
been identified archaeologically. 


Excavations at several of the Spanish Period sites in the tidewater 
portion of the mainland provide some information about what might be 
expected to be the cultural characteristics of the Indian occupations in 
the Sapelo Island area. Presumably, this information enables us to formu- 
late a general, if not a specific, description of the Sapelo sites of the 

Figure 2 
Wall trench outlines of Spanish Period aboriginal xlomestic structures found 
atrthe site on the north end of Harris- Neck. The structures are shown in their 
proper relationships to ~one another. An apparent uniformity or orientation 
and alignment suggest residential patterning in the village. 


Spanish Period. Excavations at the site on the north end of Harris Neck 
(Figure 2) and at Fort King George (Figure 3) provided a number of 
examples of what are surely domestic structures, in all likelihood houses, 
from the seventeenth century. These Indian Buildings are not large and 
all provide unquestioned association of aboriginal sherds and Spanish 
sherds with the construction features. 

The aboriginal houses of the Spanish Period at both the Fort King 
George site and the site on the north end of Harris Neck utilize closed 
corner, wall trench construction. The floor plans are characterized by 
walls that divide the interior space into rooms. Some of these walls 
partition off corners of the house into separate rooms, others cut across 
the center of the house creating two equal sized rooms. Entries were 
apparently located where short walls jut out from the exterior wall line of 
the house in order to form a covered passage. There do not appear to be 
any structures that contained interior hearths. This suggests that cooking 
may well have been carried on out-of-doors, or that perhaps the struc- 
tures served other than a residential function. Wall trench configurations 
which appear too small to have formed a house may have had storage 

The Pine Harbor site, a site that I presently feel was occupied at the 
beginning of the Spanish mission activity on the Georgia coast, produced 
little information on houses. The evidence that we now have suggests that 
the houses did not employ wall trenches in their construction, but rather 
used individually set posts. The one set of post holes that were exposed at 
Pine Harbor is the only evidence for what may have been a house at that 
site (Figure 4). While many other post holes were found at the site, it was 
impossible for me to separate out any coherent alignments from the mass 
of post holes encountered. And although the one set of post holes found 
at the site that could be interpreted as a structure was buried beneath a 
shell midden and had never been disturbed, there was, again, no evidence 
for a hearth to be found on the floor. 

There are massive architectural elements from Kenan Field that are 
associated with Irene ceramics and are probably contemporary, there- 
fore, with the Pine Harbor site and the early phase of the Spanish 
presence (Crook 1978:173 et seq., 203 et seq.). Unfortunately, the structures 
to which these elements, large and long wall trenches, belong have not been 
completely excavated so we do not have a good idea of the nature of the 
structure, or structures, of which they were a part. They appear to have 
been either portions of large communal buildings or palisades defining 
socially significant areas within the town. 

Nowhere on Sapelo do we have evidence of architecture that can be 
attributed to Spanish activities, rather than Indian activity, during the 
mission period. There is good reason to believe that the structural features 
excavated by Sheila Caldwell in the early 1950s at the Fort King George 


Figure 3 
Wall trench outlines of Spanish Period aboriginal domestic structures at the 
Fort King George Site. The drawing is based upon an incomplete tracing ofa 
field map by Shiela Caldwell, and the scale may be inaccurate. The structure 
outline shown in the inset was executed by the author in 1966. 


Figure 4~ 
'The post hote pattern beneath the northern edge of midden number 5 at the 
Pine Harbor Site. 

site are the remains of a building, perhaps a mission, built and used by the 
Spanish (Figure 5). The configuration of the structure and the con- 
struction elements all appear to be European rather than Indian. The 
building features were intruded by the graves dug to bury soldiers who 
died during the occupation of Fort King George prior to the founding of 
the Georgia colony. Thus any occupation employing European style 
buildings would have to have been a Spanish occupation. 

Beyond the identification, on Sapelo, of those sites of the Spanish 
Period we are able to provide little information regarding the nature of 
these sites. Limited testing at Bourbon Field and at the site north of the 
Shell Ring indicates that the exploitation of esturine resources was an 
important subsistence activity. Quantities of oyster, conch, mussel and 
clam shell, as well as fish bone, characterize the middens of both sites. 


Figure 5 
Partial plan of the presumed Spanish structure at Fort King George. This 
drawing like figure 3, is based upon an incomplete tracing of a field map by 
Shiela Caldwell. All of the excavated features probably are not shown, and 
the scale may be inaccurate. 

Although at the present time the analysis of food remains from these sites 
is largely incomplete, oyster shell comprises, by far, the most abundant 
remains of any of the shellfish species. Catfish, if not the largest number of 


individual of any fish species included within the midden, are at least a 
very well represented species. Crook summarizes more complete the 
available data on the fauna from Bourbon Field in his paper on the south- 
eastern coastal settlement pattern included in this volume. 

Plant remains from the midden areas at Kenan Field, Bourbon Field, 
and the site north of the Shell Ring include the remains of a variety of 
plant species. The identifications that have been attempted to date 
indicate that these remains are, without exception, wild species and in all 
likelihood the product of gathering activity. The absence of cultigens, 
particularly maize, is surprising and contrasts markedly with other mis- 
sion period sites in the area. The presumed mission site at Fort King 
George, the Pine Harbor site, and the site at the north end of Harris Neck 
in Mcintosh County and the Wamassee Head site on St. Catherines 
Island in Liberty County have all produced charred maize. Peach seeds 
have also been found at Wamassee Head and on the basis of meager and 
inconclusive evidence beans may be present at the Pine Harbor site. The 
absence of cultigens in the mission period middens on Sapelo cannot be 
explained. It is assumed that a complete analysis of the excavated test 
samples will reveal this presence. 

In 1721, Colonel John Barnwell was sent by the colonial authorities 
in South Carolina to the mouth of the Altamaha River to construct a fort 
on the English-Spanish frontier. The journal that Barnwell kept of the 
enterprise contains an entry of at least passing interest in connection with 
Indian agriculture on Sapelo during the Spanish period. On July 1 1, while 
in route to the proposed site of Fort King George, Barnwell records that, 
I prevailed with the Men to make the best of their way this day, 
without waiting for tide or vituals, to reach Alabama River 
[Altamaha River], to put me on board the Sloop, being very 
ill, wch they did, just putting ashoar at Sapola for Spanish Gar- 
lick & to look for figs; they got garlick but the figs were green . . . 
(Barnwell 1926:196). 

Apparently by the time of the Barnwell expedition Sapelo was 
without an Indian population as well as Spanish missionaries. In any 
event there were at least the remnants of Indian and Spanish gardens on 
the island. In his 1760 map, William DeBrahm noted the presence of 
"oranges and limes garden" at the extreme northeastern corner of the 
island at a point overlooking the marsh separating Sapelo from Black- 
beard Island (Yonge and DeBrahm 1760). 

Although the DeBrahm map reference is possibly to cultivation that 
occurred after the establishment of British authority oh the Georgia 
coast, Barnwell was most certainly referring to garlic and figs that ante- 
date that authority in the area. 

It is to be expected that the archaeology of the mission period on 
Sapelo would produce evidence of Spanish-introduced domesticated 


plants as well as the native American cultigens. Beyond peaches, the pits 
of which provided solid archaeological evidence of their presence on St. 
Catherines, it is difficult to anticipate what other plants derived from pre- 
British European sources might be found on Sapelo. 

In summary, there is no doubt that the Spanish were present and 
exercised dominion over Sapelo Island during the more than one hun- 
dred years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the Francis- 
can missionaries preached in the Indian towns of the Province of Guale. 
The meager documentary evidence from the period argues for the Span- 
ish occupation of Sapelo. The archaeological evidence, equally limited, 
provides solid support for that argument. The archaeological data need 
to be expanded however, and the nature of the Spanish presence needs to 
be more carefully defined. The chronological framework also should be 
refined more critically. 

Only more fieldwork employing extensive testing can provide the 
data necessary to site definition and chronological refinement. Because it 
was relatively underdeveloped in the past and is presently protected from 
the destructive development that currently characterizes much of the 
coastal area, Sapelo Island is perhaps the most promising area for the 
investigation of Spanish occupation on the Georgia coast. It is to be 
hoped that work will continue and that many of the questions concerning 
the mission period will be answered by this work. 



By Alan E. McMichael 

In a paper presented before the thirty-second Southeastern Arch- 
aeological Conference the author summarized the results of two seasons 
of archaeological survey of Sapelo Island, Georgia (Simpkins and 
McMichael 1976). The paper presents a model for barrier island settle- 
ment pattern based on a probability sample obtained on Sapelo Island 
and suggests its application to other barrier islands on the Georgia coast. 

The term settlement pattern is used here in the sense of Trigger's 
(1968:54-55) "macrosettlement patterns." Trigger distinguishes between 
the internal layout or patterning of a settlement, the microsettlement 
pattern, and the size, nature, and location of settlements on the land- 
scape, i.e., the macrosettlement pattern. The terms are derived from 
Changs (1968:6-7) distinction between the sociocultural "microstructure" 
and "macrostructure" of communities. Sears (1961:226) has invoked a 
similar dichotomy. For the most part, the macrostructure of a settlement 
pattern reflects the articulation of technology and environment whereas 
the microstructure is more often determined by factors of kinship or 
political organization, although as Trigger (1968:61-62) points out, eco- 
logical and sociocultural factors are not totally independent. 

Sapelo Island (Figure 1) is one of six barrier islands on the Georgia 
coast composed of Pleistocene sediments with Holocene additions (Hoy t 
and Hails 1967). The barrier islands are composed of parallel rows of 
successive beach ridges which were isolated by submergence during the 
Holocene. The beach ridges have undergone erosion, losing their dune- 
like relief, to become sand ridges, uniformly high and level. The lagoons 
were partially filled with eroded sands and exist today as sloughs, elon- 
gate fresh or brackish water swamps paralleling the ridges (Figure 2). 

For the first two field seasons on Sapelo, archeological survey was 
informal. No systematic coverage plan was employed other than a deter- 
mination to survey as much of the island as possible. A considerable 
amount of ground was covered in this fashion and several large sites were 
discovered (Figure 3). An apparent relationship between sites and areas 
of certain topography, soils and vegetation led me to state at the SEAC 
conference in Gainesville: 

*Reprinted by permission from The Florida Anthropologist, 1977. Vol. 30, No. 4. 
Pp. 179-195. 


Figure 1 
Location of Sapelo Island, Georgia. 

.... habitation sites on the island appear to be strategically 

located with respect to natural features rather than uniformly 

spread over the island or occurring purely at random. 

.... sites appear to be concentrated in areas contiguous to the 

marsh, i.e., the western side of the island and the northeast 


.... within these areas, sites tend to occur closest to points at 

which tidal creeks approach the shore. (Finally,) .... sites are 

encountered most frequently on the perimeter of the island, 

those areas of greatest elevation. Sites appear to be lacking in 

the low-lying interior (Simpkins and McMichael (1976:97). 








Informal survey had indicated that archaeological sites are difficult 
to detect unless the surface of the ground is exposed. Further, while 
with only two exceptions, all of the sites located were on high ground, this 







Figure 3 
Informal survey, Sapelo Island. 


was also the area which had been most intensively surveyed. These 
problems, combined with a desire to test the hypothesis stated above, 
prompted me to employ a stratified random sample combined with 
systematic subsurface testing. 

In stratified sampling the research area is ". . . subdivided, or strati- 
fied, on the basis of some prior knowledge, into various groups called 
strata. The purpose of stratification is to insure that sampling units are 
selected from each stratum, and, therefore, that the full variability that 
exists within a survey area is expressed in the sample" (Mueller 1974:32). 
In this case, stratification also serves to facilitate testing relationships of 
archaeological sites to each stratum. 

Basic to any survey report is the investigator's definition of a site. For 
the purposes of this discussion a site is defined as any evidence of aborigi- 
nal activity with no differentiation as to chronological position. Unless 
augmented by test excavation, archaeological survey is seldom suitable 
for addressing changes in settlement patterns through time, due to the 
tendency of surface collections to emphasize the later components of 
multicomponent sites. In this regard, the settlement model presented 
here may differ from Trigger's macrosettlement pattern in that Trigger 
( 1968:54-55) and Chang ( 1968:3) define settlement patterns as consisting 
of contemporary settlements. A settlement model is advanced here for 
the entire range of prehistoric occupation on Sapelo Island. 

The target population (Mueller 1974:28) for the sample consisted of 
all of Sapelo Island owned by the State of Georgia as of summer, 1976. No 
areas of marsh were included in the population, nor were any of the 
hammocks with the exception of Moses' Hammock which is connected to 
the island by a causeway. The south end of the island, under private 
ownership at the time, was excluded, introducing an arbitrary boundary 
into the sampled population (Mueller 1974:28). 

Environmental stratification was based on three variables: eleva- 
tion, soils, and vegetation. Rather than test each variable independently, 
they were combined to create five discrete environmental zones, fol- 
lowing the suggestions of Blalock ( 1972:400-401 ) and Mueller (1974:65). 

Soil boundaries as mapped by the Soil Conservation Service ( Byrd et 
al. 1961) were transferred onto U.S.G.S. topographic maps which show 
elevation in five foot contours (1.5 meters). A false color infrared trans- 
parency of Sapelo was then projected onto the map and gross, observable 
differences in vegetation were delineated. The three variables coincided 
to a considerable degree, as would be expected given the interrela- 
tionship of elevation, soils and vegetation. Where the boundaries of the 
three variables coincided, they were bundled together to form the bound- 
aries of the sampling strata. Where a marked divergence occurred be- 
tween boundaries, a single variable was emphasized, usually soil type 
because of the great amount and detail of information contained in the 
soil survey. 


Stratification resulted in five discrete environmental zones which 
account for practically the full range of variability on the island and are 
easily recognized in the field by an untrained observed. These zones, 
which correspond in size and scope to the microenvironments of Coe and 
Flannery (1964), were chosen as the sampling strata (Figure 4). 

Figure 4 ' 

Formal survey, Sapelo Island. 



Stratum A consists of a series of relict Pleistocene beach ridges 
which appear today as elongate sand ridges of relatively high elevation. 
Elevations range from a low of about seven feet (2 meters) to a maximum 
height of sixteen feet (5 meters) with the majority of the stratum lying 
between the ten (3 meter) and fifteen foot (4.5 meter) contour lines. 

Soils are a combination of several associated sandy series commonly 
found on level or gently sloping sand ridges. They range from poorly to 
excessively drained and are generally friable. The series in order of abun- 
dance within Stratum A are: Ona, Scranton, Palm Beach, Kleg and 
Galestown. Limited areas of Leon fine sand, a poorly drained soil, are 
also found in Stratum A (Byrd et al. 1961). 

Vegetation within Stratum A is described as the Maritime Live Oak 
Forest (Johnson et al. 1974:44), an association dominated by live oak 
(Quercus virginiana) and Laurel oak (Q. laurifolia) with smaller amounts 
of Magnolia spp. and pine (Pinus spp.) laced with a network of grape 
(Vitus supp.) and Smilax vines. 

The dense live oak canopy limits the amount of sunlight reaching the 
ground, resulting in a sparse overstory and understory. Dominant species 
in the overstory include red cedar (Junipems silicicola), holly (Ilex opaca), 
mulberry (Moms rubra), and yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), with small amounts 
of redbay (Persea borbonia), sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), hickory 
(Carya, spp.) and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). Important species in 
the understory include wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex 
glabra), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and, in areas of greatest sunlight, 
three species of blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) plus various grasses and 

Stratum A consists largely of two sand ridges, one extending along 
the western edge of the island and a second along the eastern edge. While 
Stratum A is rather homogenous, its two main components are not con- 
tiguous but are widely separated, a condition essentially unique to Strat- 
um A. Further, the east ridge faces the extensive Duplin estuary and the 
mainland beyond the east ridge faces a thinner stretch of marsh, a 
Holecene strand, and the Atlantic Ocean. This contrast could have been 
manifest in terms of aboriginal subsistence technology. 

In order to increase the homogeneity of the strata and to prevent 
clustering of Stratum A sampling units on only one side of the island, 
Stratum A was subdivided into A, the west ridge and A', the east ridge. 

Stratum B is composed of a large two-pronged slough system, ex- 
tending the length of the island parallel to the sand ridges. Elevations are 
low, generally less than ten feet (3 meters), with substantial areas occur- 
ring at less than five feet (1.5 meters). Soils consist almost entirely of a 
single type, Rutledge fine sand, with smaller amounts of St. Johns fine 
sand. Rutledge soils are very poorly drained, extremely acid soils occur- 


ring in drainageways and bays (Byrd et al. 1961). Several areas within 
Stratum B appear to be flooded year around. 

Natural vegetation in sloughs varies according to age and degree of 
sedimentation, undergoing successional change from an aquatic plant 
community (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1975:73). to a 
grass-sedge savannah (Braun 1967:286), and finally to a forested swamp 
(Johnson et al. 1974:51). 

A map of Sapelo prepared in 1760 by Yonge and DeBrahm and now 
on file at the Georgia Department of Archives and History shows the 
slough system as a "large savannah of fresh water" between the sand 

In the 1920s Howard Coffin drained the sloughs, drastically chang- 
ing the vegetational communities. An elderly resident of Sapelo stated 
that the island was "wet, wet, wet " before Coffin drained the sloughs. The 
informant described an area that today is covered by a mixed pine-hard- 
wood forest as a treeless plain, extremely wet, and completely planted in 
rice. The water was fresh and potable. 

Stratum C combines the high elevations of Stratum A with the poor 
drainage of Stratum B. Elevations, for the most part, are between ten (3 
meters) and fifteen feet (4.5 meters). Soils within Stratum C are of a single 
type, St. Johns fine sand. St. Johns soils are poorly drained to very poorly 
drained, and are formed in sands on low marine terraces (Byrd et al. 

Stratum C is dotted with numerous ponds, bays and swamps. As in 
Stratum B, water was often encountered within 40-50 cm. of the surface. 
Although Stratum C appear to represent a Pleistocene beach ridge 
flanked by low lying flats, its inland location would result in interior 
drainage which could account for the high ground water level. St. Johns 
soil contains a hardpan layer within one meter of the surface, which could 
also contribute to the poor drainage (see Braun 1967:286). 

Vegetation consists basically of a light to medium understory of 
slash fPinus elliottii), pond (P. serotina), and longleaf pine (P. palustris) 
exhibiting variation according to drainage. Wet or dry, the understory is 
dominated by saw palmetto with monotonous regularity. 

Stratum D is the Holocene strand, separated from the island proper 
by a narrow salt marsh lagoon. The Strand exhibits high relief, elevations 
ranging from to fifteen feet (4.5 meters). Soils are fine quartz beach 
sands with varying amounts of small shell fragments (Byrd et al. 1961). 

The strand vegetation has been characterized as the salt spray com- 
munity because of the limiting effects of salt spray, constant winds, and 
extremes of sunlight and temperature on the vegetation. The strand 
exhibits a floristic zonation extending inland from the beach. The beach 
is colonized by sandspur (Cenchrus tribuloides), saltwater cordgrass 
(Spartina patens), and sea rocket (Cakile spp.). The foredunes support 


sea oats ( Uniola paniculata), Yucca spp., prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), and 
yaupon. The stabilized backdunes support a dense, ingrown canopy of 
live oak, red bay, wax myrtle, Sabal palmetto and saw palmetto. 


Within the strata, simple random sampling was employed. A grid 
was superimposed over the map, oriented along the long axis of the 
island. Each grid unit represents a square on the ground 120 meters on a 

The sampling units were numbered and a sample was drawn from 
within each stratum by consulting a table of random numbers (Blalock 
1972:table B). The relatively small sample size precluded the necessity of 
sampling with replacement (Blalock 1972:396). The sample is propor- 
tional in that a sampling fraction of 1/44.82 was employed for all five 
strata. Thus the percentage of each stratum tested is proportional to the per- 
centage of the sampled population contained within each stratum (Blalock 
1972:399-401; Mueller 1974:32-33). 

The number of units to be tested within each stratum was computed 
to two decimal places, totalling 39.98. These figures were rounded off, 
reaching a new total of 41 units. Assuming adequate testing of each unit, 
sample size is slightly over 2 percent. 

The units were located in the field with the use of a Brunton compass 
and a 50 meter chain. Starting from some feature recognized on the topo- 
graphic map, a compass line was projected to the nearest corner of the 
unit. Once at the corner, a compass line was projected along the diagonal 
of the unit. The line was cut through and ten postholes were placed at 
seventeen meter intervals. The postholes were dug to a depth of one 
meter and the stratigraphy recorded. 

The advantages of subsurface testing must be weighed against the 
additional time involved. The necessarily limited number of postholes 
had to be placed in a manner that would maximize their effectiveness and 
allow for adequate coverage of a unit 14,400 square meters in area. 
Testing only along the diagonal is a logistic compromise but was consid- 
ered the most efficient subsurface testing technique possible in the 
limited time available. 


The results of the test were rather dramatic. Out of four units tested 
in Stratum A, two contained sites. Out of three units tested in Stratum A', 
two contained sites. No sites were found in any of the 37 remaining tests in 
Strata B, C, and D. All four sites encountered were shell middens. Irene 
and San Marcos complicated stamped sherds, along with one unidenti- 
fied grit tempered plain sherd, were found in two of the sites, indicating a 
late Mississippi period to proto-historic or historic occupation. 

A chi square test was employed to determine the probability of such 


a site distribution occurring by chance alone. Because several of the 
expected frequencies were low, Yates' correction for continuity was 
applied. A null hypothesis, stating that there are no significant dif- 
ferences between the strata, was tested. A chi square statistic of 17.24 
with four degrees of freedom resulted. The null hypothesis of no dif- 
ference cannot be accepted even at a level of significance of .001 (Table 


When Strata A and A 1 are combined and tested against the other 
strata an almost identical chi square statistic results. For the remainder of 
this discussion, Strata A and A' will be discussed as one. 

observed frequencies 














17.24 at 4df 
p = < .001 

+ = positive indications of sites 
- = negative indications of sites 

Table V 
Chi square analysis of site distribution. Yate's correction for continuity 

The results of informal and formal archaeological survey on Sapelo 
Island indicate that aboriginal occupation was limited to the Pleistocene 
sand ridges. The ridges offer elevation and the best compromise between 
poor and excessive drainage that is to be found on the island. This is not 
to imply that the aboriginal inhabitants never ventured out of Stratum A. 
The other strata could well have been exploited for particular resources 
and, in fact, subsistence oriented, task specific sites may be found outside 


of Stratum A. However, while there is no reason to doubt that Strata B, C, 
and D were exploited, they do not seem to have been suitable for 
residential use. 

It is important to note that sites are not continuous throughout 
Stratum A. Sites do appear to be concentrated in areas contiguous to the 
marsh, particularly where tidal streams approach the shore. This may 
indicate the importance of the estuary to subsistence. 


Considering the geological similarity of barrier islands, it is pre- 
dicted that similar settlement patterns are manifest on all of Georgia's 
Pleistocene barrier islands. Application of the Sapelo model can be made 
with less assurance to Pleistocene marsh islands and perhaps not at all to 
Holocene islands. Supporting evidence can be drawn from several re- 
ports of island surveys, many of which unfortunately have not been pub- 

Archaeological survey on Ossabaw Island, Georgia has been re- 
ported by DePratter (1974) and Pearson (1977). In contrast to the Sapelo 
survey, the Ossabaw survey included a large Holocene formation. On 
Sapelo, Holocene sediments included within the target population are 
limited to Stratum D, the narrow strand. The Holocene formation in- 
cluded in the Ossabaw survey is comparable to Blackbeard Island, im- 
mediately northeast of Sapelo. 

The Pleistocene portion of Ossabaw consists of sand ridges com- 
posed of Lakeland and Chipley soils. These are flanked by more poorly 
drained flats composed of Olustee and Leon soils, similar to Stratum C 
soils on Sapelo. Between the ridges lie the sloughs, composed of Ellabelle 
soils, plus stretches of high marsh described as Capers soils and fresh 
water tidal marsh. Soils on the Holocene formation are described as be- 
longing to the Kershaw-Osier complex. The strand is composed of Coast- 
al beach sand (Wilkes et al. 1974). 

DePratter's (1974) site map shows 116 aboriginal sites on Ossabaw, 
excluding the outlying hammocks. When these sites are plotted on the 
soil map, 58 sites, or 50% appear to be located on sand ridges in Lakeland 
or Chipley soils. Eighteen sites, 16%, appear to be located on flats 
adjacent to the ridges on Olustee and Leon soils. Fourteen sites, 12%, 
appear to be located in or immediately adjacent to sloughs, on Ellabelle 
soils. Twenty-six sites, 22%, appear to be located on Holocene ridges on 
Kershaw-Osier soils. 

Half the sites located in or near sloughs appear also to be located in 
immediate proximity to the marsh. Although 26 sites are located on Holo- 
cene sediments, no sites are reported from the strand or "beach front" 
(Pearson 1977:69). It would appear then that site distribution on Ossabaw 
resembles the model presented here, i.e., the majority of sites are located 
on the Pleistocene sand ridges with fewer sites reported on the poorly 


drained flats, few sites reported in the sloughs, and no sites reported on 
the strand. 

Pearson (1977) has analyzed the environmental factors influencing 
settlement during the Irene phase on Ossabaw. Known Irene sites were 
arranged in a site size hierarchy generated by cluster analysis. Site fre- 
quencies were then cross tabulated by size class, forest communities, soil 
types, distance from the marsh and distance from the nearest tidal 
stream. These environmental variables were quantified by ranking them 
in order of their assumed importance to aboriginal settlement (Pearson 

The results indicate that the larger Irene sites are more often asso- 
ciated with a "Mixed Oak-Hardwood" forest community and well drained 
soils, i.e., Lakeland and Chipley. Also, these large sites are usually within 
100 meters of the marsh and frequently within 200 meters of a tidal 
stream. As site size decreases, there is decreasing correlation with "de- 
sirable" environmental variables (Pearson 1977:tables 1-7). Pearson(1977: 
97-98) interprets with variation as indicating functional differences be- 
tween size classes: "A decrease in site size corresponds to a selection for 
location in areas of decreased environmental value. This is interpreted as 
indicating increasing exploitive specialization as site-size decreases with 
a corresponding decrease in a site's functional variability." 

Lakeland sand and Chipley find sand, on which the majority of large 
Irene sites occur, are formed on Pleistocene sand ridges (Wilkes et al. 
1974:15, 23). The poorly drained soils flanking the ridges and in sloughs 
tend to contain fewer and smaller sites. The environmental variables 
associated with the largest sites, i.e., sand ridge soils, mixed Oak-Hardwood 
forest, proximity to marsh and proximity to tidal streams, represent the 
variables which constitute Stratum A on Sapelo Island. 

A recent survey of Cumberland Island, Georgia, has been reported 
by Ehrenhard ( 1976). Site distribution on Cumberland seems generally to 
fit within the model presented here with some interesting exceptions: 
The physical location of prehistoric cultural remains on 

Cumberland Island are, as on the mainland, along the edge of 

the marsh. The sites begin at about the 2 meter contour line and 

extend inland. 

. . . Sites more often than not, are located within the oak-palmetto 

or oak-pine forest community (Ehrenhard 1976:43). 

The majority of the sites appear to be located on Lakeland, Chipley, 
or Leon soils with some sites extending onto adjacent poorly drained 
soils. Six sites are located entirely on poorly drained soils and one site, 9 
Cam 36, is located on the north end of the Holocene strand. 

DePratter (1973) accomplished almost total coverage of Black Is- 
land, Georgia, A Pleistocene marsh island west of Sapelo. Six shell 
midden sites were discovered on the island and two adjacent hammocks. 


DePratter noted the correlation between sites and Ona and Scranton 
soils. No sites were found in areas of St. Johns soils. The site bearing areas 
on Black Island fit the parameters established for Stratum A on Sapelo. 
All sites reported are located near the edge of the marsh. 

Portions of Skidaway Island, Georgia, another Pleistocene marsh 
island, were surveyed in the course of cultural resource assessment. 
Initially the perimeter of the island was surveyed revealing twenty sites 
(Caldwell 1970). Of these, seventeen appear to be located on sand ridge 
soils, i.e., Lakeland sand and Chipley fine sand. The three exceptions 
occur on Ellabelle soil, typically found in drainageways, bays and sloughs 
(Wilkes et al. 1974). 

A second survey was conducted on a small peninsula on the south- 
eastern corner of Skidaway Island. The peninsula was first surveyed 
along the marsh edge then transected east to west at 200 foot (61 meter) 
intervals (DePratter 1975:6-10). Again, the site distribution reported 
appears to conform with the Sapelo model with some exceptions. The 
occasional location of sites in sloughs or low areas seems to be deter- 
mined by proximity to the marsh edge. 

Sheldon (1976) has recently conducted a survey of Colonel's Island 
in Glynn County, Georgia, where he identified a "live Oak Zone" above 
ten feet (3jneters) in elevation, and a "Pine-Oak-Palmetto Community" 
below ten feet. All of the sites located were within the Live Oak Zone 
along the edge of the marsh. 

The soil survey of Glynn County has not been published, therefore 
no comparison can be made between archaeological sites and soil types. 
However, Sheldon's Live Oak Zone shares the elevation and vegetation 
of Stratum A on Sapelo. The Pine-Oak-Palmetto Community resembles 
Strata B and C. Sheldon also noticed the association of sites and the 
marsh edge, particularly at points close to tidal streams. 

On Green Island, a Pleistocene marsh island near Skidaway Island, 
Crook (1975) first surveyed the marsh edge then transected the island at 
50 meter intervals. Out of 57 sites discovered on Green Island and two 
nearby hammocks, 56 are on Chipley or Lakeland soils, well drained soils 
formed on sand ridges (Wilkes et al. 1974), and all are adjacent to the 
estuary. The correlation of sites and tidal streams is quite high on Green 


The reports cited above seem to support the model for barrier island 
settlement pattern based on the Sapelo Island Survey. However this does 
not constitute a test of the model's application to other barrier islands. It 
is hoped that future investigations will provide a means of testing the 
hypothesis stated here. Where possible, future surveys should address 
site distribution with respect to environmental variables, utilizing a proba- 


bility sampling technique to provide a statistical measure of reliability of 
the settlement data obtained. Environmental variables can be quantified, 
as Pearson (1977) has shown, to develop an index of the environmental 
factors influencing settlement. 


SHELL RING, 1975* 

By Daniel L. Simpkins 

In the summer of 1975, a six man crew, working under the direction 
of Lewis H. Larson, Jr., spent six weeks delineating the Sapelo Island 
Shell Ring site through contour mapping and limited testing. This paper 
is intended as a preliminary report on the field work and the results of the 
laboratory analysis conducted thus far. 


Sapelo Island occupies a central position on the Georgia coast 
directly north of Saint Simons Island and south of Saint Catherine's 
Island. Sapelo is a barrier island, separated from the mainland by an 
extensive salt water marsh lagoon. The island is composed of a series of 
Pleistocene and Holocene beach ridges isolated by the transgressing 
ocean which flooded the area behind the ridges, creating a lagoon. The 
marsh was formed by sedimentation and colonization by salt-tolerant 
grasses (Hoyt 1967). The present day floral community developed per- 
haps as late as 5000 B.P. (Cameron 1976). The island in cross-section is 
slightly concave, and as a consequence, the interior tends to remain 
boggy throughout the year. 

Larson (1969) has divided the southeastern coast into three major 
ecological sections. From east to west they are: The Strand section, 
where the ocean meets the land in a shoreline, beach, and/or dune 
sequence; the Lagoon and Marsh section, which includes the islands and 
the tidal marshes; and the Delta section, where fresh water rivers drain- 
ing the coastal plain enter the ocean, creating an estuary. Sapelo Island 
occupies the Strand and the Lagoon and Marsh zones. Of the two, the 
Lagoon and Marsh section, with its high degree of ecological diversity 
and biomass, was of greater economic importance to aboriginal popu- 
lations (Larson 1969:13). 


McMichael (Simpkins and McMichael 1976) has tentatively grouped 
aboriginal sites located by the archaeological survey on Sapelo into six 
general areas (Figure 1). Of these, the Shell Ring lies in the Mud River 
area which extends along the west side of the island from Chocolate, an 
historic plantation site, to High Point. The vegetation in this area resem- 
bles what Shelford has called the Magnolia Forest (Shelford 1963:63-64). 
Middens are small, averaging about six meters in diameter, and are scat- 

"Reprinted by permission from Early Georgia, Vol. 3, 1975. Pp. 15-37. 


tered along the edge of the marsh, extending inland as far as 500 meters, 
where the elevations begin to drop. 








SCALE 124000 


Figure 1 
Sapelo island 


Although the archaeological survey of Sapelo is only partially com- 
pleted, McMichael has made several tentative statements as to the nature 
and extent of aboriginal occupation. 

First, habitation sites on the island appear to be strategically 
located with respect to natural features rather than uniformly 
spread over the island or occurring purely at random. 
Second, sites appear to be concentrated in areas contiguous to 
the marsh, i.e., the western side of the island and the north- 
eastern corner. 

Third, within these areas, sites tend to occur closest to points at 
which tidal streams approach the shore. 

Fourth, sites are encountered most frequently on the perimeter 
of the island, those areas of greatest elevation. Sites appear to 
be lacking in the low-lying interior (Simpkins and McMichael 
The Shell Ring site conforms well with these observations. 


Among shell rings, the Sapelo Ring, or possible ring complex, with a 
radiocarbon date of 3700+/-250 B.P.:1750B.C. (Crane 1956:665) has 
been one of the best documented. Previous research includes the ex- 
ploration of the Shell Ring and three burial mounds on the north end by 
Clarence B. Moore in 1897 (Moore 1897:55) and a test excavation at the 
ring by Waring and Larson in 1950 (Waring and Larson 1968:263). Past 
exploration had concentrated upon the midden and interior of the ring 
with a brief reconnaissance of the site area exterior to the ring (Figure 2). 
Waring and Larson had concluded in their report on the 1950 excavation 

The excavation definitely established the fact that no matter 
to what use the ring ultimately may have been put, it was com- 
posed of occupational midden in primary position which was 
deposited as the result of habitation sites located on the ring 
(Waring and Larson 1968: 273). 
It was hoped that investigation exterior to the ring would reveal the 
nature of land utilization in that area. 

Shell midden containing plain and ornamented pottery have been 
reported in the literature pertaining to the site (Waring and Larson 
1968:268; McKinley 1873:432). Two 2X2 meter squares were therefore 
excavated in middens immediately south of the ring to establish that they 
were contemporary with the ring. 

Sq. 488R439. This test pit was located on a small, low, well consoli- 
dated shell midden near the edge of the marsh. The 20 cm. thick midden 
contained low fired brick and fragments of oxidized, free-blown lipped 
bottle in association with Irene, San Marcos and possibly earlier wares. 


Figure 2 
Sapelo Shell Ring 


Beneath the midden, the sandy soil contained St. Simon's Plain sherds 
and Poverty Point object fragments. 

Sq. 505R524. This square was located in a disturbed midden with 
Mississippian and protohistoric wares overlying thinly scattered Wil- 
mington, and deeper fiber-tempered wares. Several faint features were 
examined, but root impressions and leached sand made positive strati- 
graphic interpretations difficult. 

Sq. 508R500. This test pit was located on the south-eastern exterior 
edge of a scalloped portion of the shell ring on a small rise above the 
generally level adjacent plain. Dark, humic soil interlaced with shell 
reached a depth of 40 cm. Features apparently resulting from slumpage 
were encountered as the ceramic sequence graded from a thin covering 
of Irene wares into a zone of Saint Simon's wares. This area may repre- 
sent a remnant of the ring pulled away during the collection of shell for 

Sqs. 489R500 and 502R500 and Unit 494R503. Artificats in this 
section of the site trended from Irene wares to increasingly predominant 
fiber-tempered wares. A small fire pit was encountered at 45-50 cm. in the 
center of the 2X5 meter unit. A nearly sterile lens of chalky, white sand 
containing a single concentration of Deptford Geometric Stamped sherds 
was located between the dark brown sand of an Irene horizon and a fiber- 
tempered horizon lying at 74-88 cm. in a zone of leached gray-tan sand 
(see Figure 3). A small refuse pit was located in a shell- free context at 80- 
135 cm., and contained small concretions, fish bones, charred and frag- 
mentary hickory nut shells, seeds of still unidentified plants, and a fiber- 
tempered pot-sherd. A radio-carbon date of 4120+/-200B.P.:2170B.C. 
(Lab No.: RL-580) was obtained for the feature from 2.6 grams of charred 
hickory nut shells (Genus Carya) and unidentified seeds. At the northern 
end of the unit a shattered portion of a Saint Simon's Plain bowl was en- 
countered at a depth of 80-100 cm. Assuming a hemispherical shape from 
the rim and body arcs, the volume of the bowl was computed to have 
been approximately 12.2 liters or 2.9 gallons. Profiles from adjacent test 
squares indicated more lensing and less clear soil horizons than the 2X5 
meter unit. 

The stratigraphy recorded in the 2X5 meter unit may be significant 
in regard to varying results within the ring. Moore (1897) had reported 

Excavations made within the enclosure gave varying results. 
At one point yellow, undisturbed sand was reached about 1 
foot beneath the surface. Another excavation went through 
loam and midden refuse to a depth of 2.5 feet. Earthenware 
in fragments, shattered bones of the deer and a fragment of a 
temporal bone from a human skull were met with (Moore 1897: 


Z i- 

< O 

«" s 

< I 

_ o 

_ i O 0£ 

6 £ * 

w 5 5 

o 2 S2 



O Z 

< "» 

1/1 UJ 


(X < 

< X 

- * 

Q Q 


z < 

O o 



z a 

_. o 

_i a: 

X i- 

</> a> 

V £ != 

► < z 

Figure 3 
Profile of Shell Ring 


Unfortunately, it is not known where Moore was working within the ring. 
In contrast, Waring and Larson (1968) had observed: 

Unit 1 was excavated to a depth of two feet. The midden material 
throughout was very thin. There was an almost total absence of 
shell. That cultural material and shell which did occur seemed 
to be the result of slumping from the ring. The evidence from 
Unit 3 would seem to bear this out. 

Unit 2 was even more noticeable in its lack of midden deposit. 
Not more than a handful of sherds were recovered and little or 
no shell was to be found (Waring and Larson 1968:270). 
The zone from 2 feet to 2.5 feet or about 61-76 cm. depth is just above 
the zone represented in Figure 3 by the chalky-white, nearly sterile sand. 
The implication may be that a thin, but widespread, fiber-tempered 
occupation zone, perhaps buried by aeolian deposits, lies beneath this 
level, and squares adjacent to the 2X5 meter unit may have been ter- 
minated prematurely. 

An interesting sidelight to the investigations was the discovery of 
two tabby remnants exposed on the surface. These lay 35 degrees east of 
north and approximately nineteen meters away from the western edge of 
the 1950 excavation. The larger of the exposed remnants lay adjacent to 
the steep western face of the ring and measured approximately 125 cm. 
by 30 cm. A second remnant lay 275 centimeters to the west and measur- 
ed 40 cm. by 10 cm. Both remnants aligned generally north and south 
along their long axes. These could represent a portion of a dock and the 
steep, eroded western edge of the ring may therefore be the result of the 
collection of shell for tabby rather than erosion of the ring by Mud River. 


Willima McKinley's ( 1873:422-3) 1872 description of the Sapelo ring 
area as being composed of three individual rings was considered to 
require veritifcation. As a result of a surface survey in 1974, a large, very 
disturbed midden was located in the general vicinity of McKinley's Ring 
No. II. The area had been subject to rather extensive borrowing, but 
several areas of undisturbed midden still exist. It was felt that if ring 
deposits had been removed, leaving the area beneath not greatly dis- 
turbed, the site might provide an excellent opportunity to learn more of 
the basal structure of shell rings without first excavating intact midden. 
Consequently, three 2X2 meter test pits were placed in areas where the 
top strata were obviously disturbed, but where it was hoped that the 
lowest strata of the midden had remained intact. 

Middens explored by Test Pits 1 and 3 can be briefly described as 
consisting of a high concentration of artifacts in a matrix of highly 
organic soil and shell, which affords excellent faunal preservation. In the 
first fifteen-centimeter level, large quantities of late aboriginal sherds 


were found in context with historic materials, including a molded spher- 
ical lead object, low-fired brick, hand-wrought laminated square and 
rose-headed nails, a white clay pipe stem, and tin- and lead-glazed Euro- 
pean ceramics indicating a date at least prior to A.D. 1850. These mater- 
ials overlay and were mixed with the original Archaic midden below. 

Test Pit 2 was terminated above a refuse pit after obtaining a Saint 
Simons Plain sherd from the feature. The upper levels of the midden 
exhibited an historic component in the form of olive jar and tabby frag- 
ments, and hand-forged nails in association with Irene and San Marcos 
wares. Savannah and Saint Simons sherds increased in abundance with 

All pits at WGC 718 were closed while still in heavy midden which 
was determined by artifactual comparison to be approximately contem- 
porary with Ring No. 1 (WGC 717). 

The general context of WGC 718 is that of at least one Archaic 
midden of undetermined shape and size overlain and mixed in the upper 
levels with Mississippian, protohistoric, and historic components. No evi- 
dence of Ring No. Ill was found in either 1974 or 1975, and McKinley's 
description implies that both Rings No. II and III, assuming they actually 
were rings, were already disturbed in 1872. The strong historic compo- 
nent at the site re-awakens speculation pertaining to the location of the 
Spanish Mission at Sapelo and may also account for some of the early 
descriptions referring to the site as the "Spanish Fort" (Floyd 1937). 


Faunal and floral material was obtained from the midden matrix by 

water-screening, passing the matrix through a series of stacked screens, 

and hand sorting. 

Faunal analysis is being conducted by the Florida State Museum and 

preliminary observations by Dr. Rochelle A. Marrinan of material from 

Test Pit 1 indicate that: 

. . . Mammals and fish seem dominant, but turtles and birds 
seem to be important in this sample. 

One facet of the sample that I have noticed is the predominance 
of catfish otoliths and the exclusion of other types. Hemmings' 
Fig Island sample also showed high numbers of catfish otoliths. 
It is difficult to know if this represents aboriginal availability 
conditions or food preference or is a function of recognition 
. . . Catfish have easily recognized otoliths but your sample 
contains other fish (e.g., drum) which have large and easily 
recognized otoliths (Marrinan 1976). 

One human deciduous tooth, crab claws, and fragments of polished, 

undecorated bone pins were also encountered in Archaic midden. 

Floral analysis is being conducted by Ms. Marguerita Cameron of 

the University of Alabama. In addition to the hickory nut husks already 


mentioned, seeds from Smilex glauca, a briar with edible roots, was 
present in Sq. 488R439 (0-15 cm.). Several types of seeds from the 
Archaic Feature #8 were recovered, but have not yet been positively 

An initial typology of the aboriginal ceramic population from the 
site yields the following approximate percentages: fiber-tempered wares, 
33%; Deptford and Wilmington, V2 of 1% each; Savannah, 3%; Irene, 
47%; San Marcos, 5%; with 11% remaining unidentified. Stratigraphi- 
cally, the distributions tended to confirm the established coastal ceramic 
sequence. The first levels were disturbed, but lower levels trended to- 
ward increasingly unmixed and probably undisturbed fiber-tempered 
wares which often amounted to 100% of the total ceramic population of a 

Hematite, limonite, and calcite impregnated sands forming con- 
cretions around tree roots and in the sand were common. Although their 
dates of origin probably post-date the archaeological context of the area, 
they were recovered. Lithics, which are quite rare on Sapelo, consisted of 
a fragment of pecked and ground steatite, a small fragment of chlorite 
schist, a small Mississippian triangular point of chert (perhaps a Madison 
point) recovered from an Irene association, and a few quartz and chert 

Shell, of course, is the predominant recovered material; the great 
majority of which is Eastern oyster (Crassotrea virginica). Other repre- 
sentatives include Southern Quahog (Mercenaria campechiensis), peri- 
winkles (family Littorinidae), Knobbed Whelk (Busycon carica), Chan- 
neled Whelk (Busycon cancliculatum), and an occasional olive shell 
(family Oliviade). 


The only shell which might constitute culturally altered material is 
whelk in the form of Busycon hammers, picks, hoes, or pounders. These 
represent a line of evidence for diffusion of Formative Period traits from 
Latin America; specifically, Puerto Hormiga in Colombia, to the south- 
eastern United States. 

Stoltman (1972) has summarized the evidence for contact between 
these widely separated areas in three categories: 

1) The fiber-tempered pottery is associated with middens reflecting 
similar subsistence patterns. 

2) Radiocarbon dates indicate an overlap in age with the Puerto 
Hormiga material being older and Southeastern pottery persisting longer, 

3) The prevailing winds and oceanic currents could have facilitated 
movement of people from the south to the north. Stoltman further states 

Given these shared general conditions, plus at least a few specific 
resemblances in content such as the fiber-tempered pottery 


itself, ring-shaped shell middens (which are rare or absent in both 
areas at other times), and marine shell "hammers" or "picks" 
(conch or other large marine shells with the end of the columella 
rounded or beveled and the body of the shell carefully broken 
then perforated to facilitate halfting) that are also found both 
at Puerto Hormiga and in the Southeast, and one is led to con- 
clude that the probability of contact is indeed high enough to 
warrant serious further investigation (Stoltman 1972: iii). 
Altered Busycon shells were probably first described by Moore in 
relation to primarily post-Archaic sites in Florida (Moore 1905:315-325). 
Many of these clearly represented hoes and other implements. Since 
Moore's time, however, the terms Busycon pick and hammer seem to 
have become increasingly imprecise and have been applied to an increas- 
ingly diverse assemblage of altered shells. Today, the term often seems to 
be applied to any whelk or conch exhibiting deformation of the columella 
or outer whorls. 

Plate 1 
Possible Busycon Picks or Hammers 


The whelk exhibited in Plate 1 include some of the forms which were 
first separated from the entire collection and examined as possible Busy con 
picks or hammers. Although some of the shells seemed well-suited to the 
category, others required a more general "lumping" to fit the term. In some 
cases the dorsal hole appeared to be out of alignment for proper shafting. 
Erosion of shell material from the beaks and the edges of the dorsal hole was 
common during washing, and in one case a specimen was excavated with a 
root entering the aperture and exiting through the dorsal hole. These ano- 
malies led to a suspicion that factors such as erosion, weathering produced 
by acid in the soil, varying thicknesses and structural strengths of different 
portion of the shells, unintentional brekage, midden weight, or root damage 
may have been as important in producing the excavated forms as any delib- 
erate attempt to manufacture a tool. 

Another form appeared to represent a valid taxonomic unit. The whelk 
exhibited in Plate 2 (hereafter referred to as Group I) were selected from the 
total sample of 166 intact shells and fragments of Busycon collected from 
the site. However, associated pottery indicated a possible chronologic range 
from the Wilmington Period through the proto- historic or even historic 
periods. Such persistence of an artifact type seemed problematic. 

In order to help clarify the taxonomic relationships between the vari- 

Plate 2 
Busycon Shells: Group 1 


ous forms taken by the Busy con shells, thirty specimens from a single level 
containing 69% Saint Simon's sherds were compared on the basis of 45 
morphologic characteristics. These characteristics included species, shell 
length (above or below the group median), alteration of the siphon, manifest 
weathering, the number of discrete alterations of each shell, and distinctions 
between internal and external beveling produced by the alterations. In 
addition, the percentage removal of shell from each of the six largest, most 
recognizable whorls and the columella were estimated to the nearest 20%. 
Of these traits, combinations of the types of beveling accounted for five 
characteristics, and removal of shell from the whorls and columella ac- 
counted for 35 characteristics. The remaining five traits are as mentioned 
above. These characteristics were then quantified on the basis of presence 
or absence and analyzed by cluster analysis. 

Cluster analysis is a multi-variant procedure or organizing a large 
number of samples (N) on the basis of many variables (m) into a smaller 
number of statistically significant groups. A computer program compares 
each sample to every other sample and calculates a similarity matrix (N X N) 
based on the Jaccard Coefficient. This coefficient is defined as Jc=P/P+M 
where P is the number of characteristics present in both of any two samples, 

WGC 717 


-t — I — I — I — I — h- 


mean expected value of association ■ 53*9 

Clustering by unweighted pair-group metmoo 

Cluster program er gf bonham-carter university of toponto 

Figure 4 
Dendrogram depicting clustering of Busy con Shell, Sq. 508R500, 8-23CM. 


and M is the number of characteristics present in one sample and absent in 
another. The Jaccard Coefficient varies from 1 to with the former signify- 
ing a "perfect correlation" and the latter signifying "no correlation." From 
the correlation matrix the samples are grouped into the least number of 
statistically significant classes or clusters. Results of this type are expressed 
as a dendrogram as illustrated in Figure 4. A discussion of this technique is 
given in several recent texts, as for example Everitt (1975) and Johnson 

Arranging the shells and fragments as suggested by the dendrogram, 
several clusters were indicated. 

Cluster A consisted of nearly intact shells. 

Cluster B consisted of shells with altered siphons. 

Cluster C consisted of shells with some removal from the outer whorl 
and altered siphons. Unfortunately, the whorl alteration was not in the 
form of a dorsal hole and the cluster could not, therefore, be directly 
compared to the whelk exhibited in Plate 1. 

Plate 3 
Busy con Shells, Cluster E. 


Cluster D consisted of outer whorl fragments. 

Cluster E, illustrated in Plate 3, will be described below. 

Cluster F consisted of shells with beak material removed. 

Cluster G consisted of a single specimen with shell removed from the 
beak, and a small amount removed from the anterior whorls. 

The large break between Clusters A, B, and C and Clusters D, E, F, 
and G was apparently produced by the heavy reliance placed upon the 
percentage of shell removal from the whorls. 

Cluster E (Plate 3), most closely resembled Group I (Plate 2). Beaks, 
siphons, and outer whorls were altered. The sub-cluster represented by 
specimens 2 and 17 most closely resembled Group I although specimen 
#17 is only 2.8 centimeters long. Although similarities between the 
groups were evident, several important differences were also observed. 
Group I consisted of shells of fairly uniform size (8.8-12.8 cm.), predomi- 
nantly smooth and regular contours, and predominantly smooth edges 
along altered sections of the shell. A gradual seriation of traits was 
exhibited by shells intermediate between the two most dissimilar forms. 
In contrast, Cluster E consisted of shells of varying sizes (w.8-9.5 cm.), 
irregular deformation contours, and predominantly battered edges. Vari- 
ations between individual specimens and between sub-clusters was often 
accomplished without evident intermediate stages. Whereas the method 
of formation of Group I was difficult to interpret by observation. Cluster 
E exhibited manifest instances of weathering, peeling, and other struc- 
tural weaknesses; that is, the forms assumed by Cluster E were ap- 
parently derived through natural processes. Yet, the general morphology 
of several of the shells, especially specimens 2 and 17 resembled speci- 
mens of Group I quite closely. Therefore, the most economical explana- 
tion for the formation of Group I is that this group was also formed 
naturally. Since the columella presumably represents the most resistant 
portion of a Busy con shell, it would be the last portion of the shell to be 
altered when subject to various forms of natural stress. As shells had 
increasing amounts of their whorls and beaks removed, and as they were 
smoothed by erosion and weathering, they would increasingly approach 
the morphology represented by Group I. 

Of course, this analysis does not demonstrate, and is not intended to 
demonstrate, that Busycon picks and hammers are imaginary artifact 
types, nor does it conclusively prove that Group I is not an artifact type. 
However, if Busycon picks and hammers are to persist as possibly valid 
evidence for contact between Colombia and the Southeast, more caution 
seems warranted in future analysis and nomenclature of the shells. Direct 
comparisons between collections from different sites, experiments with 
live animals to determine if various forms of deformation facilitate re- 
covery of the whelk meat, and tests designed to determine natural break- 
age patterns of empty shells may elucidate this interesting problem. 



Without becoming enmeshed in the complex subsistence problems 
inherent in midden analysis, West Georgia College hoped to contribute 
new data concerning a little known area of the site; the area immediately 
surrounding the ring proper. 

Test excavations indicate that middens south of the Sapelo Shell 
Ring are of late aboriginal and historic origin. A shell-free Archaic 
feature encountered at a depth of 80-135 cm. in Unit 494R503 has been 
interpreted as a refuse pit or midden concentration associated with a 
possible house floor. This interpretation is supported by the fiber-tempered 
bowl in the northern end of the unit and the unit's profile which does not 
indicate intrusions. The radiocarbon date of 4100+/-200B.P.:2170B.C. 
obtained for the feature overlaps with the date of 3700+/-250B.P.:1750 
B.C. obtained from the ring itself. It is possible that a thinly scattered, but 
widespread occupation zone, perhaps buried by aeolian deposits, is 
present throughout the site. 

The large disturbed midden, referred to as WGC 718 on the northern 
parameter of the site, was determined to be of Archaic origin overlain by 
proto-historic and historic materials. Contour mapping did not deter- 
mine if the midden originally constituted an additional ring at the site. 
Although somewhat disturbed on their surfaces, both WGC 717 and 718 
retain much intact sub-surface area. 

It is hoped that the analysis of Busycon shells from the site will 
encourage more precise description and analysis of these shells in the 
future so as to establish their true significance. 

The Sapelo Shell Ring is a fascinating, multi-component site certain 
to provoke further speculation and entice additional investigation. 






By Morgan R. Crook, Jr. 

Several sites located on the barrier islands of the southeastern 
Atlantic coast share a distinctive set of characteristics that may be seen as 
defining a particular type of archaeological site, referred to here as the 
aggregate village (the word, aggregate, is used here only in a spatial 
sense). Defining characteristics of an aggregate village are: 

(1) Spatial clustering of circular shell middens. 

(2) Association with two or more mounds. 

(3) Large site size (from 10 to 60 hectares recorded). 

(4) Mississippian provenience. 

The intent of this paper is to focus on the spatial associations and dis- 
tribution of aggregate village sites. The research area is limited to those 
barrier islands located between the Savannah River in Georgia, and the 
Nassau River in northeast Florida (Figure 1). Analysis is directed towards 
definition and explanation of locational similarities and differences with- 
in this area. 


Two sites located on Ossabaw Island, along the northern portion of 
the Georgia coast, exhibit the defining characteristics of aggregate vil- 
lages (Figure 2). These two sites, Middle Settlement and Bluff Field, 
contained burial mounds excavated and reported by C. B. Moore in the 
late 19th century (Moore 1897:89-130). His published data indicate Sa- 
vannah and Irene period utilization of the mounds, and by extension sug- 
gest a Mississippian period occupation of the associated village areas. 

Charles Pearson (1977) included Middle Settlement (9 Ch 158) and 
Bluff Field (9 Ch 160) in a settlement pattern analysis of sites with Irene 
components on Ossabaw Island. The two village sites are by far the 
largest reported on the Island. Middle Settlement covers an area of about 
41 hectares (100 acres) and Bluff Field covers about 12 hectares (30 

The Bluff Field and Middle Settlement sites share essentially identi- 
cal environmental locations. Pearson (1977:121) proposes that these sites 

*Reprinted by permission from The Florida Anthropologist, Vo. 31, No. 1, March 
1978, Pp. 21-34. 







10 20 30 4 60 

Figure 1 
Research Area 


form the apex of the settlement hierarchy for the island. The village sites 
are highly correlated with a set of ranked environmental variables, which 
include forest community, soil type, distance from the marsh, and dis- 
tance from tidal creeks. While these factors may have influenced loca- 
tion of the aggregate village sites, an essential factor appears to have been 


Aggregate Village 
Sites Indicated 


Figure 2 
Ossabaw Island, Georgia 


location with respect to tidal stream systems and their resources. Each of 
the sites is located at the accessible midpoint of a tidal stream system. 
This particular location provides optimal access to the dendritic tidal 
stream system. More tidal stream length is accessible within a given 
distance from this point than from any other location on the island. 

Pearson (1977:128) points out that, "site location and archaeolog- 
ically recovered food remains indicates that Irene phase peoples relied 
heavily on marsh-estuary exploitation." Tidal streams near the village 
sites may more accurately define this exploitation zone. While the tidal 
streams are accessible at other points along the island, optimal access is 
offered only at the central location. 

Pearson (1977:42) states that fish remains recovered from "Irene 
phase Middens" on Ossabaw Island indicate that small fish were being 
taken, possibly from small tidal creeks. Today, and presumably in the 
past, the small tidal streams provide a nursery and spawning area for 
many fish species (Johnson et al., 1974:94). All of the recovered fish listed 
for "Various Ossabaw Island sites" (Pearson 1977:59) are common in the 
tidal streams, particularly during the warmer months of the year (Dahl- 
berg 1975; Johnson et al., 1974; Larson 1969). 

Central location of the aggregate village sites with respect to the 
tidal streams also provides central access to the land that borders the 
march. Three faunal species commonly identified in animal bone re- 
covered from Ossabaw and other coastal sites are white-tailed deer, 
racoon, and rabbit. The edge area facing the marsh provides an impor- 
tant habitat for deer and rabbits, and is regularly transversed by racoons 
entering the marsh to feed (Golley 1962; Larson 1969). 

Aggregate village location would have offered the inhabitants de- 
fensive advantages as well. Water access to the villages was possible only 
at a restricted point, the tidal stream. Movement through the marsh to the 
village would have been essentially impossible. If one considers some of 
the smaller sites on Ossabaw to have been contemporary with the large 
villages, then the small settlements north and south of the villages would 
have offered a warning system of impending attack from these directions. 
The villages were naturally protected at their rear by a virtually impas- 
sable slough that paralleled the length of the island. 


Two sites on Sapelo Island, Bourbon Field and Kenan Field, are the 
type sites for aggregate villages. The sites occur in locations identical to 
those found on Ossabaw Island (Figure 3). 

Bourbon Field was mapped by the author in 1974. The resulting map 
is considered incomplete. Dimensional information for most of the indiv- 
idual shell middens was unavailable because of dense grass cover. The 
location and elevation of each of 196 disturbed shell middens and one 
small earthen mound (35 meters in diameter; 75 centimeters high) was 


Figure 3 
Sapelo Island, Georgia 


recorded with a transit and stadia rod. 

The shell middens cover a roughly rectangular area measuring 10 
hectares. Rather obscure linear patterns of shell middens and circles of 
shell middens defining open areas are shown on the map, almost certainly 
reflecting structural and activity areas. However, the overall pattern is far 
from clear, due to the lack of shell midden dimensional data. Bourbon 
Field is scheduled for re-mapping when surface conditions permit. 

C. B. Moore excavated two mounds at Bourbon Field (Moore 1897: 
55-67). Ceramic and mortuary information from the mounds suggest 
Savannah and Irene period utilization. Preliminary analysis of pottery 
from a 45 centimeter thick shell midden, tested during the summer of 
1974, tends to support a Mississippian period provenience. High fre- 
quencies of Irene Filfot Stamped and cord-marked wares, and smaller 
numbers of Savannah Check Stamped wares were encountered in the 
shall midden. The few sherds encountered in the soil zone beneath the 
shell midden were almost exclusively cord marked (Daniel Simpkins, 
West Georgia College Archaeology Laboratory, personal communication). 

Given small sherds and small sample size, it is difficult to determine 
if the cord-marked sherds should be classified as Wilmington or Savan- 
nah I ware. Sherd tempering and cord marking are dominate character- 
istics of Wilmington period pottery; however, these traits continue with 
frequency in the later Savannah I wares (Caldwell and Waring 1939a, 
1939b; Caldwell 1952). If the occupation below the shell midden was 
Wilmington, it could date as late as ca. A.D. 1000, based on carbon-14 
dated Wilmington contexts on neighboring St. Catherines and St. Simons 
Islands (Caldwell 1970; Milanich 1977). 

Faunal material from one two-meter square excavated in the Bour- 
bon Field shell midden was analyzed by the author. The basal fifteen 
centimeter level of the shell midden was fine screened (window screen) to 
recover a sample of small faunal material. This procedure recovered a 
quantity of material, most of which remains unsorted. A small sample of 
the screened faunal remains was analyzed. 

The species identified from the shell midden commonly inhabit 
either the marsh-edge area or the tidal streams. Oyster shell made up the 
bulk of the midden deposit. Oysters are found in beds upon the firmer 
portions of the tidal stream canals, where there is minimal sedimentation 
(Larson 1969:123). The mammals represented in the midden include the 
following minimum numbers of individuals from marsh-edge habitats: 
one rabbit (Sylvilagus sp.), two raccoons (Procyon lotor), and two white- 
tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). 

Identified reptiles include at least one diamond-backed terrapin 
(Malaclemys terrapin) and one turtle (Chrysemys sp.). Diamond-backed 
terrapin are able to tolerate fresh water, however their preferred habitat 
is salt marsh and tidal streams. Archie Carr ( 1952: 176) states that capture 
of this turtle is productive when a stop net is placed "across the deeper 


parts of good-sized tidal creeks (50-100 yards wide) over shell bottom and 
near oyster banks." Four species of Chrysemys (C. pictapicta, C. scripta, 
C. cocinna, C. floridana) occur on the Georgia coast. These aquatic 
turtles prefer shallow, quiet, fresh waters, but may occasionally enter the 
marsh (Carr 1952:214-218; Ernst and Barbour 1972:138-164). 

At least two blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) were represented in the 
shell midden. Blue crabs seem to live in the shallower estuarine waters 
during the warmer months, and retreat to warmer deep waters during the 
colder part of the year (Larson 1969:134-136). 

All fish identified from the shell midden, except one of the sea cat- 
fishes, were recovered from the fifteen centimeter thick fine-screened 
portion. It should be remembered that material from only a small section 
of this level was analyzed. One cartilagenous fish was identified, a small 
skate or ray (Rajiformes). The remainder were boney fish, including at 
least nine sea catfishes lAriidae sp.), two gafftopsail catfish (Bagre mari- 
nus), two red drum (Scianops ocellata), one black drum (Pogonias cromis), 
six mullet (Mugil sp.), and thirteen unidentified boney fish. 

The red drum were the largest fish. The two individuals had live 
weights of around fourteen kilograms each. The black drum was some- 
what smaller, but still a substantial individual. The two gafftopsail catfish 
weighed about 900 grams each, while the remaining catfish, mullet, and 
unidentified fish weighed far less. 

Most of the fish represented in the fine-screened sample appear to 
have been quite small. The most common skeletal element were tiny 
vertebrae. There should be a direct relationship between vertebra size 
and the life weight of individuals within a species, however this relation- 
ship seems to be undefined at the moment for estuarine fish. In the ab- 
sence of such information, the number of vertebrae needed to weight one 
gram may be used as a convenient measurement of relative size differ- 
ences between archaeological and laboratory specimens. Laboratory 
specimens of a sea catfish (Arius felis) and a gafftopsail catfish (Bagre 
marinus), each having a life weight of around 900 grams, averaged 9.6 
vertebrae per gram. A greatly reduced size is indicated for individuals of 
the Ariidae family represented in the archaeological sample; the average 
number of vertebrae was 126.7 per gram (418 vertebra, 3.3 grams). Sim- 
ilarly, a mullet (Mugil cephalus) laboratory specimen with a life weight of 
about 450 grams averaged 8.9 thoracic vertebrae per gram, while arch- 
aeological specimens (Mugil sp.) averaged 53.6 thoracic vertebrae per 
gram (59 vertebra, 1.1 gram). Vertebrae from unidentified boney fish 
measured 71.0 per gram (667 vertebra, 9.4 grams). Although the size of 
the archaeological specimens cannot be stated exactly, exceedingly small 
individuals are indicated. 

In summary, the species identified from the Bourbon Field shell 
midden indicate the exploitation of tidal stream and marsh-edge fauna. 
The identified fish share a number of important characteristics. They are 


predominantly bottom feeders, occur in schools or at least large groups, 
and are available in the tidal streams during the warmer months of the 
year (Dahlberg 1975; Dahn 1950; Larson 1969). The small individuals 
suggest that aboriginal procurement was by some sort of impoundment 
technique, perhaps nets or seines. 

The other aggregate village located on Sapelo Island, Kenan Field, is 
situated on an extension of land that juts out briefly about midway along 
the western side of the island. The site was mapped and tested during the 
1976 West Georgia College Archaeology Field School, under the direc- 
tion of Lewis H. Larson, Jr. No previous archaeological investigation at 
the site had been accomplished. C. B. Moore (1897:73) knew of the site, 
but was denied permission to excavate. 

Kenan Field was mapped using controlled transit-stadia transects. 
Nearly ideal mapping conditions existed due to fire that had removed 
most of the surface debris. The only obstructions were the numerous 
planted pines that cover this former agricultural field. The site extends 
over an area of 60 hectares and contains 591 plow-disturbed shell mid- 
dens, one large earthen mound (Mound A), and one small earthen mound 
(Mound B). The shape of the village, as defined by the shell midden dis- 
tribution, is rather rectangular, corresponding to the shape of the land 
upon which it is located (Fig. 4). 

The spatial arrangement of the shell middens and mounds suggest a 
rather complex village plan. At least four distinct areas may be observed 
on the map: ( 1 ) a separate clustering of shell middens in the northeastern 
portion of the site; (2) linear arrangements in the central area of the site; 
(3) an arc-shaped pattern of large shell middens defining an area to the 
west of Mound A; (4) an area containing fewer shell midden in the 
southern portion of the site, near Mound B. Archaeological investi- 
gations designed to test specific locational and cultural hypotheses were 
conducted at the site during the summer of 1977. Once analysis is 
completed, the cultural sssociations underlying the pattern formation 
should become more clear. 

Most of the pottery encountered in the Kenan Field excavations were 
Savannah Check Stamped and Savannah Cord Marked ware. Lesser 
amounts of Irene Filfot Stamped pottery were also present. Qualification 
of the ceramic components must await complete analysis; however a 
strong Mississippian period association is certain. 

Kenan Field and Bourbon Field, like the Ossabaw Island aggregate 
village sites, are located strategically with respect to the tidal streams 
facing each village, as well as the marsh-edge area north and south of the 
settlements. This location minimizes distance to these environmental 
zones. The faunal analysis for Bourbon Field supports the view of these 
areas as primary animal exploitation zones. 

The defensive advantages of village location are the same as those 
proposed for the Ossabaw Island sites. Restricted access to the village 


Figure 4 
Kenan Field 


from the water, a slough system to the rear of the village, and perhaps 
smaller settlements to the north and south of each village, are the 
common characteristics. Smaller, contemporary settlements are undem- 
onstrated on Sapelo Island, however McMichael (1977) has statistically 
shown that prehistoric sites on the island are associated with the high, 
well drained soils that front the marsh (i.e., that area north and south of 
the aggregate villages). 


Aggregate villages are apparently restricted to the northern half of 
the Georgia coast. Available information (Moore 1897), indicates that 
the aggregate village settlement type and locational pattern might extend 
to Skidaway and St. Catherines Islands. Moore was interested in mounds 
and their contents rather than the kind of locational data needed to de- 
monstrate this. More recent investigtions conducted by archaeologists 
from the University of Georgia on Skidaway and St. Catherines Islands 
should provide the data needed to determine if the aggregate village 
pattern is present. 

The Cannons Point area of St. Simons Island (Wallace 1975) and the 
High Point site on Cumberland Island (Ehrenhard 1976) are locationally 
the same as the aggregate villages. However each is associated with only 
one burial mound. These sites appear transitional between the aggregate 
village pattern and an entirely different pattern to the south. 

The sites on the rest of Cumberland Island (Ehrenhard 1976) and 
those on Amelia Island (Bullen and Griffin 1952; Hemmings and Deagan 
1973) are locationally and typologically distinct from the northern village 
sites. They lack multiple mounds associated with large areas of circular 
shell middens and appear to be spread along the marsh edge without the 
locational regularity seen in the northern sites. This reinforces a previous 
contention that the large consolidated shell middens of the Northern St. 
Johns area reflect a different settlement pattern from that of the smaller 
scattered middens to the north (Larson 1958). 

Larson has also suggested, on the basis of ethnohistoric and ceramic 
evidence, that the Timucua extended as far north as Cumberland Island 
and the pre-Spanish Guale from St. Simons to St. Catherines Island (Lar- 
son 1958). The distribution of the aggregate village pattern suggests that 
the prehistoric Guale extended at least as far north as Ossabaw Island. St. 
Simons Island and the northern end of Cumberland Island may represent 
the southern fringe of prehistoric and early historic Guale occupation. 
The Cumberland Island site could be Timucua rather than Guale, the 
common locational pattern reflecting contact between the two groups. 



Aggregate village sites suggest a particular cultural adaptation. Most 
features of this adaptation remain archaeologically obscure. However, 
one part is reflected in the location of the large villages. All other things 
remaining equal, a single household or small groups of households re- 
quire a smaller exploitation range in a given environment than many 
households in the same environment. Thus, strategic location would 
have been an important condition for the establishment and maintenance 
of large villages on the barrier islands. Exploitative range was effectively 
broadened and exploitative distance kept to a minimum. 

A more productive technology for the procurement of tidal stream 
resources may have been a prerequisite for the establishment of large 
villages on the barrier islands. The small fish recovered from the sites are 
the strongest indication we have for an impoundment technology on the 
Georgia coast. It would seem impossible to catch small fish in a produc- 
tive way with hood and line, spears, or other individual fishing techni- 
ques. That the fish occur in schools or large groups and are bottom feed- 
ers are characteristics productively exploited by impoundment techniques. 
Additional support for impoundment is offered by the presence of mul- 
let, which are seldom taken on hook and line. 

Towns were the residential and political base of the chiefs reported 
in the area during the 16th and 17th centuries. Dealings with the Guale 
were through the mico of each town. There also seems to have been a 
higher office, the position of head mico, that exerted some influence in 
the Guale province (Swanton 1922:80-84). Aggregate village sites are 
surely the archaeological manifestation of certain of these towns and 
their prehistoric counterparts. 

Definition and explanation of the similarities and differences be- 
tween aggregate villages, and their functional and social position within 
the total settlement system requires more secure archaeological data 
than is now available. Reliable spatial information is absent for most sites 
reported in the coastal area. Shell midden sites, so frequent on the coast, 
offer an opportunity to record the patterns of refuse deposition associ- 
ated with their occupation. Detailed maps of refuse deposition are nec- 
essary to discern locational variations and to formulate spatial, anthro- 
pological hypotheses that may be tested archaeologically. 





By Morgan R. Crook, Jr. 

Aboriginal community structures are documented along the Atlan- 
tic coast of southeastern North America in 16th and 17th century narra- 
tives (e.g. Garcia 1902; Andrews and Andrews 1945). Community life and 
its organization for the Guale of the Georgia coast included periodic as- 
semblies in council houses which were circular in shape and usually quite 
large. Individual apartments or cabins were elevated above the floor, 
lining the walls along the interior of these buildings, and in the center was 
an open space for a fire and activities. 

Archaeological evidence of two large structures, which are perhaps 
Mississippian Period antecedents of the protohistoric council houses, 
were encountered at the Kenan Field site during the summer of 1977. 
Kenan Field is located on Sapelo Island, Georgia, upon an extension of 
land which juts out briefly along the western side of the island. Cultural 
features visible on the surface of the site include at least two earthen 
mounds, a long earthen enbankment, and 589 discrete shell middens. The 
site area measures 60 hectares (Figure 1). 

It is my intention here to provide arguments for and a descriptive 
and interpretative summary of the community structures at Kenan Field. 
These structures were archaeologically complex, and many descriptive 
and methodological details are omitted for the sake of brevity. A com- 
plete discussion is available elsewhere (see Crook 1978). 

The two community structures evidently were portions of a planned 
structural complex. The southern structure (Structure # 1) is separated 
from the northern structure (Structure #2) by a plaza. A large earthen 
mound (Mound A) is located immediately east of Structure #2 and was 
probably a functional part of the complex. 

Structure #1 appears to have been a large, low platform constructed 
over a low earthen mound (Figure 2). Based upon construction elements 
now exposed by excavation, the platform extended at least 29 meters 
along its north-south axis and at least 36 meters along its east-west axis. 
Primary construction elements of the structure are denoted by 17 evenly- 
spaced lines of rectangular post holes. These lines are spaced 1.5 meters 
apart and are oriented approximately 95° east of north. The lines waver 
slightly through their course, but retain constant spacing, suggesting that 
construction of each post-hole line was in reference to one previously 
constructed. The length of individual post holes is far more variable than 
the width, which ranges from 18 cm to 40 cm with over 90% measuring 
about 20 cm across, length varies from 15 cm to 60 cm with most post 
holes measuring around 40 cm. The rather constant width indicates that 


Figure 1 

an implement measuring no more than 18 cm wide was employed to con- 
struct the post holes. 

Only the basal portions of the rectangular post holes were present 
and these never extended more than a few centimeters into undisturbed 
subsoil. Walls of the post holes along their width were straight; the 
eastern wall inclined gently from an indented base, and the western wall 
was usually straight to slightly sloped. The bottom of most post holes was 
deepest at the base of the inclined eastern end near the center of the post 
hole. These deepest points probably mark post positions; however, no 
post molds were apparent. Judging from those cases where enough of the 
shallow post holes remained to allow an adequate determination, the 
form was consistent from one line to the next. The western, rather than 

Figure 2 

eastern, end was inclined in a couple of instances, but these were excep- 
tions without persistence and lacked an apparent pattern. In one case a 
shallow depression connected three post holes within a line, indicating 
that the post holes may have been constructed in the base of a wall 

The maximum depth of the post holes varied slightly in relation to 
surface elevation. Where surface elevations were around 4.35 meters or 
less, the bases were from 26 cm to 35 cm below the surface. Bases ranged 

Plate I 

from 30 cm to 40 cm below the surface where elevations were around 4.50 
meters, in the vicinity of the low mound and in the eastern portion of the 
excavation area. Assuming that the post holes were dug to a rather 
uniform depth, this suggests that some surface alteration has taken place 
since the post holes were constructed. 

Several inferences may be drawn from the post-hole data. The form 
indicates the holes were dug with an implement with straight sides and 
flat edges. Field experiments conducted with a heavy "No. 2" agricultural 
hoe, having a blade 20 cm wide and 15 cm deep, virtually duplicated the 
post hole form (Plate 1). The tool used in construction of the post holes 
probably was either a hoe or other implement of very similar shape. The 
persistent sloping eastern sides of the holes indicate that most were dug 
from the west in a rather consistent fashion, and the equal distance 
between post-hole lines indicates spacing was an important consideration. 

The immediate interpretation which comes to mind is that the "post 
holes" are the result of hoe agriculture of the plantation period. Several 
details may be explained by following this argument. Hoe agriculture was 
prominent on the Georgia coast during the plantation period, and groups 
of slaves often hoed together, in the same direction, down the crop rows 
(e.g. Bascom 1941). The regular spacing and slightly wavering orientation 
of the lines can be explained by viewing them as a result of hoe agriculture. 

Problems arise when the agriculture argument is pursued. The post 
holes are the result of a single event rather than a seasonally recurrent 
agricultural procedure. The post holes are also free of massive root dis- 
ruptions which would be expected if their function were for planting. My 
own attempts to dig a hole 30 cm deep with a hoe were successful only 
with difficulty. An older Sapelo Island resident, who also was a seasoned 
gardner and farm laborer, agreed that a foot was excessively deep to dig 
with a hoe. However, Sea Island cotton, sugar cane, and mulberry trees 
are plantation period crops which were planted in rows about 5 feet (ca. 
1.5 meters) apart. On the other hand, the cotton and cane were planted in 
ridges rather than in the bottom of furrows, and mulberry trees were 
spaced 10 feet from one another within each row (Coulter 1940:71, 93, 
115). Neither these nor other Sea Island crops, such as rice, corn, or 
indigo, can adequately explain the rectangular post holes (see Gray 

Other evidence makes the hypothesis of an agricultural origin even 
more insecure. The relationship between the depth of the post holes and 
the present surface are within the borrow area of the earthen embank- 
topographic patterns in the area. Those post holes with bases closer to 
the present surface are within the borrow area of the earthen embank- 
ment located south of Structure #1. Since the depths of these post holes 
are generally less than those in the eastern portion of the structure and 
those intrusive into the low earthen mound, it is likely that the borrow 
activity post-dates construction of the rectangular post holes. 


The earthen embankment initially was thought to be an old field 
road, a circumstance which would neither confirm nor deny the origin of 
the post holes, since a road probably would have been constructed some- 
time after agriculture had been intiated at Kenan Field. A mechanical cut 
was excavated through the embankment in order to expose construction 
details. The fill of the embankment was composed of light gray sand 
without evidence of loading or intrusive features. Also absent, perhaps 
significantly, was any indication of dual depressions near the top surface 
that would indicate use as a road. The most important observation was 
that the embankment had been built upon undisturbed topsoil, indicating 
that the earthwork and, therefore, the rectangular post holes, had been 
constructed prior to extensive agriculture. A shallow pit containing 
charred-wood fragments was observed in the profile. This feature orig- 
inated in the topsoil and was overlain by the embankment. The embank- 
ment evidently post-dates Structure #1 and pre-dates agricultural use of 
at least this section of Kenan Field. The possibility exists that the earth- 
work is prehistoric or protohistoric in origin. 

Available evidence indicates the rectangular post holes were con- 
structed prior to plantation period agriculture; however, their cultural 
association remains to be demonstrated. The constant 1.5 meter space 
between the post-hole lines is somewhat less than a Spanish estado which 
equals about 1.69 meters (see Swanton 1922:48). This unit of measurment 
may have been used on the Georgia coast during the mission period or 
slightly earlier and 1.5 meters is probably within the range of variability 
for this Spanish measurement (see Foster 1960:57). Spacing is the only 
suggestion of a Spanish association as artifacts in the Structure #1 area 
were exclusively aboriginal. Spanish direction or influence in construc- 
tion is possible; however, evidence presented below suggests that this is 

The post hole form and arrangement indicates lines of shallowly-set 
posts which probably supported a very large, low platform. This type of 
structure is without precedent on the Georgia coast; however, very 
similar floor plans have been documented at the Winford Site in Mississippi 
(McGahey 1969). These Mississippian Period structures at the Winford 
Site were defined by multiple, evenly-spaced lines of round post molds 
which were confined to a rectangular to square area and surrounded by a 
wall trench. A single large post mold, probably indicating a roof support, 
was positioned in the center of these structures. While this floor plan is 
strikingly similar to that of Structure #1, the Winford structures are much 
smaller. The largest measures a little more than 12 meters to the side, 
while Structure #1 measures at least 29 meters by 36 meters. 

Ethnohistoric accounts offer little aid in interpretation of Structure 
#1. Guale council houses were often quite large and did have raised 
cabins along their inside walls. DeBry engravings (Lorant 1946:93) show 
Timucuan chiefs and other officials, engaged in a black-drink ceremony, 


seated upon a narrow platform which defines an open plaza-like area. 
Narrow platforms are also shown in various other circumstances (see 
Lorant 1946:75, 99, 103, 111). In addition, charnal houses on the coast 
consisted of lofty platforms contained within a roofed structure. The 
form of Structure #1 can be explained by none of these ethnohistoric 
examples. However, it is clear that platform-construction techniques 
were employed by the coastal aborigines. 

The floor plan of Structure #1 seems to indicate the possibility that it 
is an aboriginal construction. Spatially associated features and cultural 
materials support this possibility. Features within the structural area 
tended to be located between the lines of post holes, indicating that many 
were contemporary with the structure. These features consisted of numer- 
ous ashy organic stains upon the subsoil, small shell-filled refuse pits, two 
hearths, and a large shell- filled post hole. Burned oyster shell from one of 
the hearths (Feature 106) was submitted for carbon-14 analysis and re- 
turned an age estimation of A.D. 1155 +/— 75. 

Artifacts encountered in the plow zone immediately above the sub- 
soil location of the post holes and features indicate a Savannah Phase as- 
sociation for the structure, supporting the carbon-14 estimate. Based 
upon the weight-density of pottery within the lower, less disturbed por- 
tion of the plow zone, two distinct deposition areas are recognized. One is 
in a central portion of the structure, above and adjacent to the hearths 
and substructural mound. Pottery (N=123) within this area included 
about 30% plain sherds, 25% Savannah Fine Cord Marked sherds, and 
25% Savannah Check Stamped sherds. Minority wares consisted of Irene 
Complicated Stamped and San Marcos Simple Stamped sherds. Two 
sherds each of St. Johns Plain and St. Johns Check Stamped also were en- 
countered in this location. The second deposition area is along the 
northernmost line of rectangular post holes; that is, in an area which 
would have been along and just underneath the northern edge of the plat- 
form. Pottery (N=70) here included about 40% Savannah Check Stamp- 
ed sherds, 20% plain sherds, and 15% Savannah Fine Cord Marked 
sherds. Minority wares consisted of Irene Complicated Stamped and San 
Marcos Simple Stamped pottery. 

Faunal material in the lower plow zone at Structure #1 also was res- 
tricted to two locations. One location coincided with the area of dense 
pottery in the central area of the platform. Species represented here were 
white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), box 
turtle (Terrapene Carolina), chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia), mud 
turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum), Gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus), 
black drum (Pogonias cromis), gar (Lepisosteus sp.), and herring or shad 
(clupediae). The second area of faunal material was more restricted; 
located above and around an ashy organic-stained feature at the north 
wall. Species here consisted of white-tailed deerfO. virginianus), stripped 
skunk (Mephitis mephitis), spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and 


gar (Lepisosteus sp). A fragment of human molar also was recovered in 
this location. 

The density of both pottery and faunal material decreased in the 
plaza area. Pottery (N=24) included about 35% plain, 35% Savannah 
Check Stamped, and 20% Savannah Fine Cord Marked. Faunal material 
in the plaza was highly fragmented and none could be identified to 
species level. 

The southern edge of Structure #2 is located across the plaza, 34.5 
meters north of Structure #1. Structure #2 measures 55 meters along its 
north-south axis and at least 31 meters along its east-west axis. The 
eastern side of the structure is intrusive into the irregular borrow area 
associated with Mound A ( Figure 3). As with Structure #1, primary con- 
struction elements are denoted by lines of rectangular post holes spaced 
at 1.5 meter intervals and oriented about 95° east of north. Although 
orientation of the post hole lines are the same, the long axis of Structure 
#2 is perpendicular to that of Structure #1. Also unlike Structure #1, 
Structure #2 is divided into northern and southern sections by an internal 
wall trench. Extensive excavation was restricted to the northern section, 
while a 1 meter wide trench was excavated through the southern section. 

Most of the features were encountered in the northern section, 
probably due to extensive excavation in the area. Construction elements 
of Structure #2 were intrusive into a few Deptford and St. Simons Period 
features. Of concern here are the contemporary Savannah Phase features. 
These consisted of ashy organic-stained areas as at Structure #1, a 
hearth, and a single large post hole. 

Pottery within the lower plow zone of the northern section of Struc- 
ture #2 was concentrated at the northern edge and interior margin of the 
platform. Within this location, pottery was most dense in an area above 
and adjacent to two ashy organic-stained features (Features 202, 203). A 
few dense areas of pottery also occurred at dispersed locations within the 
interior of the northern section. Pottery was infrequent north of the struc- 
ture. The pottery inventory (N=234) from the lower plow zone within the 
northern section included about 40% Savannah Fine Cord Marked sherds, 
35% plain sherds, and 10% Savannah Check Stamped sherds. Minority 
wares consisted of Irene Complicated Stamped and Incised pottery, San 
Marcos Complicated Stamped and Simple Stamped pottery, and Savannah 
Complicated Stamped and Burnished Plain pottery. 

Low densities of faunal material occurred throughout the northern 
section and faunal debris was dense only in the northern wall section 
above and adjacent to the two ashy organic-stained features. Identified 
species consisted of white-tailed deer (O. virginianus), rabbit (Sylvilagus 
sp.), diamond-backed terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), chicken turtle <D. 
reticularia), mud turtle (K. submbrum), a racer (Coluber constrictor) and 
eastern coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum), gar (Lepisosteus sp.), Gaff- 
topsail (B. marinus) and sea catfish (Arius felis), red (Sciaenops ocellata) 


Figure 3 

and black (P. cromis) drum, Atlantic croacker (Micropogon undulatus), 
and sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus). 

In addition to densities of pottery and faunal material, small chert 
flakes were concentrated around the ashy organic-stained features. These 
flakes were unutilized and appear to have been the result of retouching 
stone implements. 


Similar inventories of pottery and fauna were encountered in the 
southern section of Structure #2. Within this section, pottery (N=70) 
included about 47% plain sherds, 30% Savannah Fine Cord Marked 
sherds, and 12% Savannah Check Stamped sherds. Minority wares were 
the same as in the northern section. Identified faunal species consisted of 
white-tailed deer (O. virginianus), raccoon (P. lotor), rabbit (Sylvilagus 
sp.), mud turtle (K. subrubrum), gar (lepisostens sp.), Gafftopsail catfish 
(B. marinus), black drum (P. cromis), and mullet (Mugil sp.). While the 
inventories of the two sections are similar, the distribution of materials 
changes at the dividing wall. Pottery was dense and much more evenly 
distributed in the southern section, while faunal material was unevenly 

A disturbed shell midden measuring 10 meters in diameter was 
located just beyond the southern edge of Structure #2. A 1 meter X 4 
meter trench was excavated through this 27 cm thick deposit. The shell 
midden was composed almost exclusively of oyster shell. Vertebrate 
species were represented by a few bone fragments of white-tailed deer 
(O. virginianus), a single humerus fragment of an Atlantic green turtle 
(Chelonia mydas), and perhaps the remains of a box turtle (M. terrapin). 
Of the 35 potsherds encountered in the shell midden, about 35% were 
plain, 32% Savannah Fine Cord Marked, and 20% were Savannah Check 
Stamped. Minority wares included Savannah Burnished Plain, Irene 
Complicated Stamped, and San Marcos Simple Stamped. A single sherd 
of St. Johns Plain also was recovered from the shell midden. 

In summary, a few important conclusions may be drawn concerning 
the form and nature of the community structure complex. First, the two 
platforms appear to be contemporary, as they are located at opposing 
ends of a plaza; the orientation of their construction elements are identi- 
cal, their long axes are perpendicular, and both are primarily associated 
with Savannah Phase pottery types. Secondly, although the two struc- 
tures share basically identical construction elements, associated cultural 
materials and their distribution indicate they were probably functionally 

The large size of Structure #1, its association with a substructural 
mound and a plaza, and the presence of contemporary exotic material 
(i.e. St. Johns pottery) indicates that it functioned as a community orien- 
ted facility. Certainly, communal labor was responsible for the energy ex- 
pended in construction of the structure. 

While Structure #1 definitely appears to have been a community 
building, it also may have been a residence. Hearths, refuse pits, and 
diverse faunal remains within the structure indicate that it was the loca- 
tion of food preparation and consumption activities. The small size of the 
refuse pits suggests they contain the food remains of a small social unit 
and perhaps even denote single meals. It may be speculated that the dual 


hearths indicate that this social unit was polygamous. Conclusions based 
upon a partially excavated structure must remain tentative; however, 
present evidence is well explained by viewing this community structure 
as the residence of a high-ranking political or religious official. 

Unlike Structure #1, the northern platform was divided into two sec- 
tions by a partition. This division probably served to define social space 
and to distinguish activity areas. Refuse in the northern section was con- 
centrated in a location near the northern end of the platform. The rela- 
tively high densities of food remains and fragments of pottery vessels, 
along with retouch flakes and refuse facilities, indicate that this debris 
location was a focal point for at least a segment of social activities which 
occurred within the structure. Food was consumed and its remains were 
discarded; pottery vessels were broken, and stone implements were 
maintained in this area. The only hearth associated with the northern 
section, and one which seems to be contemporary with the debris loca- 
tion, is situated about 15 meters to the southwest. As directly associated 
faunal material was within rather than around the hearth, it appears that 
food was prepared here but consumed and disposed of in the debris 

Evidence that food preparation was spatially distinct from food con- 
sumption and other activities indicates that a formal, structured arrange- 
ment governed activities within the structure. This surely distinguishes 
Structure #2 from domestic contexts in which food preparation and con- 
sumption are closely related events, both spatially and socially. Separa- 
tion of these events in the northern section of the structure suggests that 
food was consumed by persons other than those who prepared it. While 
the food may have been prepared by women, maintenance of stone tools 
or weapons was probably a male activity. Thus, chert flakes in the refuse 
area suggests that the food was consumed by men. 

The social segment associated with this inferred male-activity area is 
indicated by its context within a community structure. It seems quite 
possible that this portion of Structure #2 was the location of small 
councils or deliberations involving community affairs. Although the 
spatial organization of this section of the platform is quite formal, the 
occurrence of more mundane activities, such as maintaining stone imple- 
ments, suggests that the location also may have been used as a male 
meeting place on more informal occasions. Considering that food con- 
sumption was separated from preparation activities, it also seems prob- 
able that consumption was isolated from food production. In other 
words, it seems quite possible that the male social segment associated 
with the structure was supported by the community, at least in the 
circumstance of the council event. This interpretation of the spatial dis- 
tribution within the northern section of Structure #2 clearly implies that 
the Savannah Phase society at Kenan Field was segmented and ranked. 

The southern platform section was distinct from the northern sec- 


tion, as indicated by the partition and different depositional patterns. 
Unlike the northern section, pottery was much more evenly distributed 
and faunal material was distributed more erratically. Excavation was too 
restricted to provide a clear indication of the form of the spatial distribu- 
tions; however, it appears that different activities were associated with 
this location. 

The strength of arguments concerning the community structures 
and their associations must be viewed within the limits of available infor- 
mation. Quite plainly, the archaeological evidence of community struc- 
tures at Kenan Field is without parallel on the Georgia coast, and I find 
this uniqueness troublesome. However, the uniqueness could be wholly 
the product of the lack of investigation at comparable village sties. Kenan 
Field is the only Savannah Phase village site to be subjected to anything 
approaching large-scale excavation. In addition to providing a first look 
at a Savannah Phase village site, the Kenan Field data provides a com- 
parative base for future research. 

At the least, information from Kenan Field argues for new directions 
in coastal research. One such direction involves a reconsideration of 
Savannah Phase pottery types and their significance. The check stamped 
pottery within both structures had grit and sand inclusions in their paste, 
while the fine cord marked sherds were overwhelmingly grog tempered. 
The distinct pastes of the Savannah Check Stamped and Savannah Fine 
Cord Marked pottery surely indicates that different processes were 
involved in the manufacturing of the two wares, and this was probably 
related to social and/or functional differences in the use of the pots. 

Present evidence is insufficient to completely resolve the factors 
related to the pottery distinctions; however, it seems significant that the 
high incidence of check stamped pottery is associated with what is inter- 
preted as a communal/status-residence structure, while increased amounts 
of fine cord marked pottery were associated with a structure interpreted 
as the location of community political or religious events. This indicates 
that the social context of pottery use varied between the two structures. 
Social inferences are limited at this point, but it is clear that use of each of 
these community buildings was associated with a distinctive yet contem- 
porary assembledge. 






By Marian Saffer 

The preliminary analysis of pottery from the Kenan Field site has 
shown a marked association of certain decorative modes and aplastic 
constitutents. The correlations of grit inclusions (quartz greater than 1.0 
mm) with check stamping and grog inclusions (clay lumps) with cord 
marking are striking because typically in coastal archaeology, they would 
be attributed to temporal differences. However, this explanation will not 
suffice for the present case, because the two kinds of pottery, grit/ .check 
stamped and grog/ cord marked, are clearly contemporaneous. Ceramic 
technological analysis was employed to test alternative hypotheses about 
the correlation of traits, with results which support independently de- 
rived hypotheses about the Kenan Field site. 

There are a number of explanations for regular physical differences 
in pottery manufactured at the same time period. The patterns may re- 
flect the exploitation of two kinds of clay, the working characteristics of 
which demanded different techniques of manufacture or decoration. 
The patterns may reflect differential exploitation of clays, tempers, and 
decorative elements by distinct manufacturing units of some kind, for 
instance, lineages. The patterns may be indicative of functional dif- 
ferences between the two categories of pottery. It is toward evaluation of 
the latter two hypotheses that the technological data were applied; that 
is, the manufacturing group difference and the function difference. 

The pottery in question was excavated from two Savannah period 
(A.D. 1000-1540) structures at the Kenan Field site, located on the barrier 
island, Sapelo. The structures, designated I and II, were apparently large, 
low platforms and consisted in part of lines of rectangular postholes, 
regularly spaced and oriented. The structures are at the periphery of an 
open, plaza-like area. Structure I may be as large as 35 by 50 meters, but 
Structure II appears to be smaller (Crook 1978). 

Both structures have some shell- filled pits, ashy concentrations that 
may have been from small fires, and organic stain areas. There were two 
hearths in Structure I, one of which yielded a radiocarbon date of A.D. 
1155±75 years. The hearths in Structure I were found at the edge of a 

*Reprinted by permission from the Proceedings of the Southeastern Archaeolog- 
ical Conference, Bulletin 22, 1980, Pp. 35-38. 


low, in-structure mound, which may have served to drain rain water from 
that activity area. Structure II had one hearth which appeared to be con- 
temporaneous with the structure. Structure II had no mound, but two 
wall trenches were exposed, one of which divided the structure into 
north-south halves. 

The spatial distribution of debris was also different in the two struc- 
tures. In Structure I, pottery and other materials were present through- 
out, with check stamped pottery most frequent along the north wall, and 
plain and cord marked pottery most frequent in the interior areas. In 
Structure II artifactual materials came almost exclusively from along the 
north wall, with only sparse scatters of sherds and bone in the interior 
areas. In Structure I check stamped pottery was most frequent (33% of 
total) and in II cord marked pottery was most frequent (28% of total). 

Crook ( 1978) has posited an interpretation of these structures which 
is based upon the artifact inventories, spatial distributions of artifacts and 
features, the features themselves, and ethnohistoric documents. He sug- 
gests that the size of Structure I, its proximity to the plaza, and a number 
of exotic artifacts indicated that some sort of community activity was 
carried out there. In addition, the structure may have served as a resi- 
dence, which is suggested by the size of the hearths and the refuse pits. 

Crook's interpretation of Structure II is that it also was for com- 
munity activity of some sort. More specifically, he sees evidence that 
groups of individuals held decision-making meetings there and were at- 
tended by other persons who were involved in food preparation and 
cooking. On the basis of ethnohistoric documents, Crook has inferred 
that the individuals at the meeting were of high status. Again, the size of 
the structure, location, and debris distribution contribute to the interpre- 
tation (Crook 1978). 

The pottery from Kenan Field was categorized initially with a cross- 
classification system (rather than "typing"), the dimensions of which were 
two variables: decorative mode and aplastic (a term inclusive of temper 
and naturally occurring inclusions). The use of this method for classifying 
pottery avoids relying upon the accepted but problematic typology in 
current use by coastal archaeologists. Using the established typology may 
have resulted in forcing the data to fit the pattern, rather than examining 
the data to detect patterns. Moreover, the association of grog with cord- 
making and grit with check stamping would not have been documented 
(Figure 1). 

After noticing the aplastic/decoration association in pottery from 
Structures I and II, technological analysis was carried out to define other 
traits in the categories and to facilitiate interpretation of the differences. 

The physical traits of a pottery vessel may vary according to the 
function intended for that vessel, particularly traits built in or controlled 
by the potter in the process of manufacturing and/or the selection of raw 


Grit Grog 







Figure 1 

materials. If check stamped/ grit pottery and cord marked/ grog pottery 
from Kenan Field served different purposes, they may be expected to 
show consistent variation in any of a number of traits. The same kind of 
consistent variation may be seen in pottery made by different groups with 
access to or preference for differing raw materials and techniques of 
manufacture. The specific hypothesis guiding the technological analysis 
was that discreet constellations of physical traits would be found for each 
pottery category, and that those clusters of traits may be related to raw 
materials and/or manufacturing techniques. The point of the analysis 
was not to test or support one of the above explanations vis-a-vis the 
other as the cause of the observed trait correlation. Rather, the purpose 
of the technological measurements was to see if the distribution of traits 
was non-random, in which case either explanation— "manufacturing 
group 1 ' differences or functional differences— is possible. 

Numerous variables may be examined to form a body of data for the 
purpose of comparing two categories of pottery. A number of these 
variables were measures on 30 sherds from the check stamped/grit 
pottery and on 30 from the cord marked/grog pottery. The variables 
studied were color, coring, scratch hardness, porosity, thickness, and the 
particle sizes and proportions of aplastics. The data are at various levels 
of measurement; some are appropriate for statistical treatment and some 
are not. It should be emphasized that even a marked disparity in one 


varible cannot be considered definitive evidence in favor of the hypothesis 
being tested. The interest is in patterns of the variables together. A sum- 
mary of the data follows. 

The first variable to be considered was surface color. On the basis of 
measurements done with a Munsell Soil Color Chart, four mutually ex- 
clusive color categories were set up for the samples. The color categories 
may be indicative of, among other things, variation in firing conditions 
and coloring agents in the raw clay. The latter are principally iron com- 
pounds and organic matter. The distribution of colors for each pottery 
sample has been graphed (Figure 2) and a Chi-square, significant at .001, 
indicates that the distribution of colors is not random. There is a higher 













Figure 2 



proportion of the cord marked pottery in the color categories which 
indicate more complete oxidation of coloring agents than there is of the 
check stamped pottery. Eighty per cent of the cord marked pottery ap- 
pears to be well-oxidized, as opposed to 56% of the check stamped. 

The second variable considered was coring. The term coring refers 
here to the presence of grayish or brownish colors in a sherd's cross- 
section, indicative of unoxidized, charred organic matter. Coring is a 
function of firing conditions, paste density, sherd thickness, porosity, and 
the initial amounts of organic matter in a clay. The sample sherds were 
rated from zero to five for degree of coring. Zero was 'no core,' one was 
'light core,' two and three were 'moderate core,' and four and five were 
'heavy core.' The results were that 50% of the check stamped sample was 
heavily cored, 40% was moderately cored, and 10% had no coring. The 
cord marked sherds overall exhibited lesser degrees of coring, with 60% 
moderate and 40% lightly or not cored. As with the surface color results, 
the cord marked sherds tend to be more fully oxidized. 

The third variable was hardness. Hardness is a dimension affected by 
the particle sizes of the clay and aplastics, firing conditions, chemical and 
mineralogical composition of the raw materials, and post-depositional 
factors. Scratch hardness tests with Mohs' Hardness Scale yielded mean 
hardness measurements of 2.7 for the check stamped sherds and 1.5 for 
the cord marked. The maximum hardness for the cord marked group was 
the minimum for the check stamped. 

Sherd porosity was also measured for the data set. Porosity has to do 
with the permeability of the clay body and is computed as the ratio of the 
volume of pore space to the volume of the piece. Like color, coring, and 
hardness, porosity is affected by many factors. The mean apparent poros- 
ity for the check stamped sample was 28.6%, and for the cord marked it 
was 36.5%. A comparison of the means was significant at 0.1. The cord 
marked sherds are decidedly more porous, a trait that may have been 
caused by different sizes and shapes of aplastic inclusions, more com- 
plete firing and therefore less charred matter clogging pore spaces, or a 
difference in the texture and composition of the raw clays employed. 

Sherd thicknesses were also measured. Three measurements were 
taken for each sherd and the mean recorded as the thickness. The mean 
thickness of the cord marked sample was 0.8 cm and for the check 
stamped it was 0.7 cm. Small differences in thickness in handmade 
pottery is subject to slight variation by virtue of the manufacturing 
method. Ranking the thickness measurements for each sample demon- 
strated a great many interspersed values, thus the small variation must be 
interpreted carefully. 

The last variables to be considered are the particle sizes and propor- 
tions. Aplastic particle sizes and quantities affect several of the preceding 
dimensions, including hardness, porosity and coring. The sherds were 
examined under a magnification of 70 X to rate particle sizes by the Went- 


worth Scale (Shepard 1956) and to estimate relative quantities. 

In all 30 cord marked sherds and 29 check stamped, sand was the 
most frequent inclusion and was always rated 'abundant,' the highest 
frequency rating. In the cord marked sherds grog was the next most fre- 
quent inclusion type, whereas in the check stamped, grit was. There were 
several minor types of inclusions, but they were uniformly rare in each 
sample. The samples appear to carry equivalent loads of aplastic inclus- 
ions, even though one has grog and the other has grit. However, the sand 
in the two samples was not of the same size; the sand in the cord marked 
pottery is smaller than that in the check stamped pottery. 

A summary of the data shows the following. The cord marked sherds 
show more oxidized color development and less coring than the check 
stamped sherds. The coring also points to more oxidation in the cord 
marked sample. The check stamped sample is harder than the cord 
marked. A reducing atmosphere as opposed to an oxidizing one may in- 
crease hardness. A reducing atmosphere would also cause dark surface 
colors and coring. Although there is a great deal of overlap in thickness 
distributions, the mean thickness of the check stamped pottery is less 
than for the cord marked. Finally, the two samples contain comparable 
loads of aplastic inclusions but not comparable size categories; the cord 
marked pottery has smaller sand particles. 

With the preceding information the most parsimonious explanation 
of the group differences, in technological terms, hinges on the relative 
levels of oxidation in the two samples. Different firing techniques are 
posited as the reason for differences in color, coring, porosity, and 
possible hardness. Less complete oxidation resulted in larger quantities 
of charred organic matter in the pore spaces of the check stamped 
sample, which has the effect of clogging the spaces and reducing perme- 
ability. The incomplete oxidation may be caused by a reducing atmo- 
sphere which could also increase hardness. 

From the data just presented, it is apparent that a number of quanti- 
fiable differences between check stamped/grit and cord marked/grog 
pottery do exist. These differences bear out the research hypothesis that 
discreet constellations of traits related to raw materials and/or manufac- 
turing techniques exist for the two samples. Specifically, the dark colors, 
heavy coring, and lower porosity of the check stamped sample point to 
firing conditions insufficient for complete oxidation of organic matter. 
For whatever reason, the two pottery categories were produced in a con- 
sistently different manner, even beyond the obvious differences of de- 
coration and aplastic inclusions. 

The question now is, why would these differences exist? If functional 
distinctions led to the variation, at least some of the properties should 
relate to functional, working characteristics. In fact, porosity, hardness, 
and thickness— dimensions in which the samples do vary— are related to 
such characteristics as strength, absorbent behavior, and resistance to 


weathering, shock, abrasion, and thermal stress. Therefore the explan- 
ation of functional differences as a source of physical variation cannot be 

To illustrate how the traits defined for each pottery type might be 
related to a difference of function, one could suggest that the cord 
marked pottery was a cooking ware, and the check stamped pottery for 
storage or container use. A potter manufacturing a cooking vessel would 
want an item which could withstand repeated shock and handling. By 
using a paste with large quantities of sand particles, a certain amount of 
porosity could be expected: porosity is a positive trait for withstanding 
the stresses of thermal expansion and contraction. A thicker vessel would 
be more heat retentive, another positive trait for cooking. In addition, a 
cooking vessel is repeatedly exposed to heat and so may continue to 
oxidize through usage. The Structures I and II cord marked pottery 
exhibits such traits, at least relative to check stamped pottery. On the 
other hand, a less porous vessel would be relatively more watertight, a 
desirable characteristic for a container. Also, a storage vessel would be 
subject to less handling than a cooking pot and so thiner walls might be 
acceptable. The check stamped pottery possesses these traits, relative to 
the cord marked. 

It is interesting to note that in fact, cord marked pottery in Structures 
I and II had a relatively high frequency of association with faunal re- 
mains. This may be viewed as independent data supporting the idea that 
cord marked pottery at Kenan Field functioned as a cooking ware. 

The viability of the explanation pivoting on manufacturing group 
differences must still be considered as a source of the detected pattern- 
ing. Since, as had already been noted, raw materials differ between the 
samples, and in all likelihood manufacturing techniques do also, the 
possibility of separate units manufacturing the pottery can not be dismissed. 

To substantiate the validity of one of these hypotheses over the 
other, further testing should take place. If in further excavation, for ex- 
ample, it were found that the two kinds of pottery had an uneven dis- 
tribution in a series of residential structures, one could say the manufac- 
turing group difference had been supported; that is, such a difference 
could be construed to be related to kin group differences. But at this time, 
we can test only the functional difference hypothesis against Crook's 
interpretation of Structures I and II. 

Though Crook believes both were some sort of community-use 
structures, Structure I also looks like a residence— thus it would have 
served a dual purpose, as opposed to the solely community activity in 
Structure II. One would expect diverse types of activities in the structures 
to leave diverse artifact types and patterning. We have seen that this is the 
case through patterns of deposition, types and spatial associations of 
features, and types of artifacts recovered, particularly pottery type fre- 
quencies. Structure I had a much higher frequency of check stamped pot- 


tery, and the situation is reversed in Structure II, where cord marked 
pottery dominated. Assuming that Crook has correctly assessed the exis- 
tence of some functional differences between the two structures, one 
would expect to find a variation in pottery distribution. Since this is in 
fact the case, I consider the functional difference explanation to be sup- 
ported by independent data. 

At this stage of Kenan Field research, the functional explanation 
seems strongest, or at least more elegant, because it treats more of the 
observed differences in more detail. Moreover, Crook's hypotheses 
about the structures are in agreement with the functional difference 
hypothesis. It is important to note that Crook's ideas were developed and 
tested independently of the pottery data analysis. The concurrence of 
hypotheses arises from separate data bases. It is clear, in any case, that 
the investigation, beyond cursory classification, into technological prop- 
erties of coastal pottery has the potential to contribute insights to a 
variety of archaeological problems— social, functions, and chronological. 



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1975 An Archaeological Survey of P. H. Lewis Property, Skidaway Island, 
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1976 Cumberland Island National Seashore: Assessment of Archaeological 
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1972 Turtles of the United States. Lexington: University Presses of Kentucky. 


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1937 Certain Tabby Ruins on the Georgia Coast. In Georgia's Disputed 
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1937 An Archaeological Report on the Elizafield Ruins. In Georgia's Dis- 
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1975 The Value and Vulnerability of Coastal Resources. Atlanta: Resource 
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1962 Mammals of Georgia. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 
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1933 History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860. 2 Vols. 
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Volume XX 

June 1981 


DEC 1 7981 f I 


Published by 

A Division of the University System of Georgia 
Carrollton, Georgia 



Volume XX June, 1981 


Mark J. LaFountain 
Volume Editor 



Foreword Robert H. Claxton v 

Preface Mark J. LaFountain vi 

Protean Principles: Explorations in 
the Structure and Symbolism of 
Healing Ralph G. Locke 1 

Some Historians Methods in the 

Analysis of Thought D. Lawrence Wieder 16 

The Old Courtesan: An Occasion for the 
Structuralist-Semiotic Research 
Program Jeffrey Lloyd Crane 27 

Season of Birth and Acceptable Science: 

A Discussion of Peripheral Theories . Derral Cheatwood and 

Michael N. Halstead 42 

Biological Cycles and Socio-Rhythms Joe W. Floyd, Jr. 56 

Tacit Environmental Interactions Walter Schaer 73 

*The title of this volume is indebted to the song, "Games Without 
Frontiers," written by Peter Gabriel. It appears on the album Peter 
Gabriel, Chrisma Records, Ltd., 1980. 


Vol. VII, 1968, Social Scientists Speak on Community Development. 

Vol. VIII, 1969, Some Aspects of Black Culture. 

Vol. XI, 1972, Georgia Diplomats and Nineteenth Century Trade 

Vol. XIII, 1974, American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods. 
Price, each title, $2.00 

Vol. XIV, 1975, Political Morality, Responsiveness, and Reform in 


Vol. XV, 1976, The American Revolution: The Home Front. 

Vol. XVI, 1977, Essays on the Human Geography of the Southeastern 

United States. 

Vol. XVIII, 1979, The Southeastern United States: Essays on the Cultural 
and Historical Landscape 

Price, each title, $3.00 

Vol. XIX, 1980, Sapelo Papers: Researchers in the History and Prehistory 
of Sapelo Island, Georgia 

Price, $4.00 

Copyright ° 1981, West Georgia College 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Thomasson Printing Co., Carrollton, Georgia 301 17 

Price, $4.00 

($1.00 discount with standing orders or orders of ten or more to 
one address.) 

West Georgia College is an 
Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer 


A. DERRAL CHEATWOOD received his Ph.D. from Ohio State Univer- 
sity in Sociology and he is currently in the Department of Criminal 
Justice at the University of Baltimore. He has published a number of 
articles on juvenile corrections, art and artists, and visual imagery in 
society. Professor Cheatwood is co-founder and editor of the journal, 
Qualitative Sociology, and co-founder of the annual Conferences on 
Social Theory and the Arts. His interest in season of birth is a tangent of 
his focus on social theory and social psychology. 

JEFFREY L. CRANE is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with the 
University of Hawaii at Hilo. He is presently serving as a visiting 
professor at the University of Notre Dame where he received his doctorate 
in 1979. Professor Crane has published and presented papers in the 
areas of sociological theory, medical sociology, and American culture. 
His primary interests are in the areas of interpretive sociology, language, 
myth, and semiotics. Currently he is working on editing a volume of 
essays on Hans-George Gadamer and a series of articles dealing with 
parents reactions to unanticipated caesarean birthing experiences. 

JOE W. FLOYD, JR. took the Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of 
California, Riverside in 1977, and is currently Assistant Professor of 
Sociology at Eastern Montana College, Billings, Montana. His current 
research interests include the sociology of time and the formulation of 
explanations for human behavior based on the combination of biological 
and social variables. Human behaviors of specific interest include those 
which are related to the interaction of biological sex, gender identity, 
and gender roles; and those which involve stress, shift work, and family. 

MICHAEL N. HALSTEAD received the Ph.D. in Sociology from Tulane 
University. He is presently Chairman of the Sociology Department at St. 
Ambrose College. In addition to teaching interests in theory, minority 
relations and urban sociology, he is pursuing research in the sociology 
of music, primarily focusing on jazz. 

RALPH G. LOCKE is a Visiting Professor of Social and Administrative 
Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a 
Research Associate at Duke University. He obtained his Ph.D. in social 
anthropology at the University of Western Australia. His research work 
and writing have mainly been in the areas of ecstatic religion, altered 
states of consciousness, and healing in a cross-cultural prespective. Two 
recently completed works with Edward Kelly of Duke are Altered States 


of Consciousness and Laboratory Psi Research: An Historical Survey 
and Research Prospectus, and A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Altered 
States of Consciousness and Psi both to be published by the Parapsychology 
Foundation in 1981. 

WALTER SCHAER is a Human Factors consultant and Professor of 
Industrial Design at Auburn University in Alabama. He received the 
diploma of Interior Architecture from the Technical Institute of Berne 
in Switzerland, and the Master of Industrial Product Design from the 
Ulm Graduate School of Design in Germany. He earned the Doctor of 
Philosophy degree from the Walden University of Florida with a dissertation 
on "Experiential Design Awareness," having previously studied ergonomics 
at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Gestalt psychology at 
the University of Zurich. Professor Schaer, a former project director 
with NASA for a conceptual space station, is now developing a humanistic 
design theory toward transelectronic realities. 

D. LAWRENCE WIEDER is an Associate Professor of Sociology and 
Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. 
His teaching and research interests include ethnomethodology, pheno- 
menological sociology, and observational methods. He has conducted 
ethnographies of a half-way house for narcotic addicts, the counter- 
culture, a research laboratory for chimpanzee research, and nursing 
homes. He is currently studying the performance of magic. His writings 
include Language and Social Reality: The Telling of the Convict Code. 



As West Georgia College publishes this twentieth volume in its 
annual Studies in the Social Sciences series, it is appropriate to consider 
the history and purpose of these collections of essays. Each individual 
issue has really been more of a book than a magazine. 

The first developmental stage lasted a decade, beginning in 1962. 
The Studies series was a spin-off from the college's active continuing 
education program. Its purpose was to disseminate the ideas of visiting 
lecturers or (mainly) Georgia professors, especially to secondary schools. 
The Sears Roebuck Foundation provided seed money, since it was sent 
gratis to interested parties. Each issue had a theme, generally focusing 
on international education or the changes Georgia experienced in the 
1960's. Editorial leadership came from J. Carson Pritchard, John Martin, 
Collus Johnson, and Eugene R. Huck. 

The series entered a second distinct period, beginning in 1973, 
under the general editorship of John Upchurch. Thereafter, each volume 
had a separate editor and invited authors, representing a particular 
social science discipline. History and geography were predominant. The 
new purpose, while not ignoring high schools, was to give West Georgia 
faculty members experience in editing and writing for college level 
readers. National indexes and journals cited artices from the Studies. 
Readership became regional rather than local. The college's new School 
of Arts and Sciences began to subsidize publication. 

Although this sociology volume relies upon the accumulated ex- 
perience and traditions of earlier ones, it also represents some new 
directions. We are seeking to add non-academic authors and readers, a 
wider geographic distribution of subscribers, and a focus on emerging 
issues and methodologies. We anticipate a twenty-first volume on "Supply 
Side Economics and its Critics" which will also include a comprehensive 
index. With increased selectivity, we hope to continue to bring new 
scholars together in an effort to present their research jointly. At the 
same time, we reaffirm the original goal of conveying ideas away from 
campus to anyone who cares to consider them. 

Robert H. Claxton 
General Editor 


The intention of this volume is to present an interdisciplinary 
approach to the stretching of sociology's boundaries. 1 Each author was 
invited not only to recognize this, but to seize the freedom to venture 
creatively into unusual areas, places sociologists ignore or avoid or 
simply fail to conceptualize. As such, the purpose then is not to squeeze 
adventure into tight theoretical schema. 2 Rather, it is to formulate 
questions, to push horizons, to do with sociology what Max Scheler did 
with phenomenology, that is, to use it as a medium with which to say, 
"Look, over there, look at that!". Whether or not the emergent symbol 
systems actually capture experienced realities is always an issue, but 
often the latter is not as important as making tired eyes see anew. This, 
of course, does not mean that the quality of theory and research 
generating insight is to be whimsically abused by unattended flights of 
imagination, but only that imagination and adventure must too be 
celebrated. Sociologists often forget these moments in their concerns 
with the coalescence of thought. 

The spirit of creativity is not, however, the sole impetus for this 
work. There is also the interaction of "forced interdisciplinary interest" 
and alienation. By "forced interdisciplinary interest" I refer to the 
shrapnel of the so-called "knowledge explosion," a factor known to all 
contemporary thinkers and artists. Not only is information expanding 
almost uncontrollably within disciplines, it is also doing so across disciplines, 
blurring boundaries and almost obliterating some fields, while simultane- 
ously generating others. To attempt to remain knowledgeable requires 
attention to the expanding present as well as to its histories. For those 
not wishing to be the ones with "tired yellow-edged notecards that have 
never been updated," the alternative is a forced interdisciplinarianism. 

But pursuing curiosity across fields points one toward an absent or 
future goal/object, one whose processes are often obscure and uncharted. 
This in itself is problem enough, but it also forces a recognition of the 
experience of alienation. Reference here is not so much to the Marxian 
notion as to the Hegelian-Sartrean rendering. Sartre noted in the Critique 
of Dialectical Reason that the products of human action tend to take on 
their own reality, their own force, their own necessity. There comes a 
point in time where the outcomes of intentional activity stand over and 
against their creators as hinderances to growth and the realization of 
potential. Sociology, or more properly sociological praxis, discovers 
itself burdened with limits on possible forms and types. Not the fault of 
any one figure or school or trend, this is the result of our efforts, 
especially our successes, at being rich and clear. Such outcomes constitute 
what Sartre termed the "practico-inert," 3 whose effect is the atrophy of 


possibility and the obstruction of freedom. 

As the inviter of essays for this volume, I was driven by the effort to 
overcome the practico-inert in my experience of sociology. It is not that 
traditional or even contemporary variants have no value or offer no 
insight, they do indeed. But what of all the other ways in which "the 
social" is encountered? What else is there? That was the question posed 
to the participants, "What are your working on that you think to be of 
value, to be different, that might be good or interesting for sociologists 
to consider"? 

Realization of the alienating force of the practico-inert is painful, 
particularly when answers to questions such as those above are posed. 
As one learns of developments, ideas, insights, etc. appearing in related 
or marginal disciplines, and they seem to have import for one's own, 
what does one do? Among several answers are, (1) become a "Renaissance 
person"— know as much as possible with as much depth as possible 
about as many things as one is able. Many of the early writers whom we 
now defer to as our (sociological) "masters" were precisely such people. 
They did not necessarily call themselves sociologists, sociology often 
claimed them! Writers such as, for instance, Marx, Spencer, Simmel, 
G.H. Mead, Kenneth Burke or Alfred Schutz felt no compulsion to 
restrict their energies to sociology per se, nor did they abide by any 
prevailing dogma. They relied rather on their own ingenuity, on their 
own sensitivities to symmetries, intricacies, nuances, etc. 

Such responses to curiosity and its ensuing interdisciplinary quest 
often leads to one's forsaking sociology, with the resultant loss of 
potentially powerful thinkers. For those not departing the discipline, but 
still following this line, there are such problems as publishing one's 
work, getting on panels, programs, policy boards, etc., finding employ- 
ment, locating colleagues with whom to share, warnings against committing 
"career suicide," and a host of other responses that reek of myopia and 
promise obscurity. The latter are particularly true this very day when 
sociology more and more is dominated by politico-economic factors, 
large universities who in toto exercise dictatorial power, scientistic 
restriction of vision, and other even more latent structures such as 
Western interpretations of reality and knowledge. 

A second answer is to retain one's inquisitiveness, to probe other 
forms of knowing and realities, and to bring this back to bear on the very 
boundaries of sociology. Stretch the boundaries, broaden, deepen, re- 
define standard concepts. Consider possibilities and novelties as potentially 
relevant factors or variables. This is after all the history of sociological 
inquiry, the enlarging and extension of thought about "interaction", 
"social", "change" and numerous other concepts. This surpassing of the 
given and the hypostatized requires an historial rootedness, but it also 


accepts as untenable that future paths are passively predetermined or 
that the practico-inert should reign over free praxis and occlude the 
totalization of knowing and being. Trancendence and higher reorgani- 
zation are important moments in the sociologist's penetration of "things". 
Such inciting of boundaries to dilate and floresce gives rise to the title of 
this volume: "games without frontiers". 

A wonderful summary of this very issue was offered by the 
contemporary sculptor, Kenneth Snelson. For years under attack by 
critics for producing sculptures they could not comfortably classify as 
artistic creations or as engineering feats, Snelson noted, "Hardening of 
the categories leads to art disease." 4 So appropriate a response! The 
intent of this volume is similar to that of Snelson: not necessarily to 
confuse a discipline that already scarcely knows what it is, but rather to 
attend to the world it looks at and to the experiences that world provides 
that they might become part of its working vocabulary. 

The crucial insight behind "games without frontiers" is that sociological 
praxis has always been motivated by desire (e.g., for understanding, for 
manipulation, etc.), which itself is anchored in a lack. Fulfillment resides 
in appropriating a world exterior to the sociologist. This appropriation 
secretes products, eg., assumptions, theories, epistemologies, ontologies, 
metaphysics. The irony, however, is that these products confront the 
sociologist as identical with the world. The alienation inherent in this 
dialectic is perceptible, among other moments, when one reaches for 
the freedom necessary to re-see or re-appropriate the world, only to find 
the effort fettered by one's own creations. The free agency of an 
intending consciousness loses its interior possibilities for growth and 
transcendence in the moment of its recognition of its being captive, i.e., 
its being exterior to itself. 

So what does this have to do with interdisciplinary study and with 
this volume? It raises the issue of the necessity of viligant self-awareness 
and a willingness to accept struggle. The latter are signs of a profound 
feature of human existence. As a sociological issue, when one accepts 
the inevitably necessary reality of struggle as the mate of freedom, it 
becomes a problem of what to do with boundaries and frontiers. A 
solution, though not all would concede it to be the only one, is games 
without frontiers. 

Speculation and experimentation have always been among the 
games engaged in by sociologists as they confront desire and lack. But 
often these stop short of radical vision, or of ontology and metaphysical 
re-orientation, though they do often penetrate epistemologies, becoming 
consumed by technique. Speculation and experimentation are motivating 
forces in these essays, but so too is the simple desire to let the pre- 
thematic world emerge beyond given frontiers. It is a war without 


tears— no vehemence or cynicism or pessimism is mandated— only the 
embracing of the emergent quality of freedom, of existence, of knowing. 
The products of such war can include paroxysm and disorder, and they 
can generate cynicism, ostracism, and wars with tears. Yet they can also 
call us to a more intelligible grasp of our experience, to a fuller understand- 
ing of just what our contexts really are, and to what sorts of relationships 
there are among things that are indeed important. Games without fron- 
tiers are for what is forgotten in assumption and/or for what is attendant, 
but not yet emerged. 

Mark J. LaFountain 

Assistant Professor of Sociology 

Volume Editor 



'One notes the exclusively male authorship of this volume. Women were invited, 
but for one reason or another, all declined. 

2 The different systems of referencing were permitted to let each author retain 
his own particular style. 

3 See Sartre, pp. 130-132, 226-227 (Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical 
Reason, trans. Alan Sheridan-Smith, ed., Jonathan Ree, London: NLB, 1976). 

4 Quoted in Smithsonian, June 1981, Vol. 12, #3, p. 28. 




By Ralph G. Locke 

In the Greek pantheon, Proteus was a minor god, but one who 
exemplified important themes of Greek philosophy, science, and culture. 
For Proteus had the power of assuming whatever shape he pleased, and 
in this fashion he embodied the essence of human imagination in its 
unfettered access to forms and modes of being. In this aspect, Proteus 
symbolizes transcendence and creativity. Malleability of form, however, 
assumed another meaning. If one desired the truth, then one had to hold 
Proteus in one shape. He would then relent in his struggle and speak 
veridically. The Orphic mystics considered the god as a symbol of the 
primal matter from which the world was created. 1 A second, but 
equally important aspect of the myth of Proteus, then, is that truth as 
essence or invariant principle has to be won in a contest with the 
obdurate world of appearances, with our worlds of perception and re- 
flection, imagination and the domains of shared meanings. 

Elements of Greek culture profoundly shaped Western views of 
science. In the twentieth century, we find echoes of this cultural inheri- 
tance in scientific ideation and method. I am not suggesting here a linear 
and direct descent of cultural material; rather, the pattern is one of 
symbolic forms which are variously filled through historical and social 
transformations, but which invariantly structure the relationship of man 
and world. In scientific effort, knowledge, in all of its contingencies, is 
generally considered to be wrung from the fabric of the world in 
stringent attempts at control, limitation, and the imagined and measured 
inference of hidden principles. Science, and no less social science, deals 
with 'occult' relations beneath the apparent order of things. 2 And curiously, 
there is a recent confluence in the styles of mainstream science, marginal 
science (parapsychology, for example), and esoteric systems insofar as 
they share some ideas previously held exclusively of one another con- 
cerning hidden realities. 3 

My intention is not to propose that a unified science or philosophy 
of science is emerging; rather, the point is to sketch out some common 
themes in approaches to knowledge acquisition and to show that their 
methods and results are symbolically framed. Healing provides a focus 
for explorations of this relationship. Ideas about healing in this century 

"I am grateful for the constructive criticism and support offered by Edward F. 
Kelly during work on this paper. 

have been profoundly altered by concern for the mind, in the first place, 
and more strongly by a focus on consciousness. Mind and consciousness 
throw a light on embodiment, symbolism, and human action which 
physicalism and positive science disallowed. But in every case of inquiry 
there is an ineradicable problem— that of interpretation. Let me deal 
with this briefly in reference to the contributions of two great innovators— 
Freud and Jung. 

For Freud, a theory of symbolism is central to the understanding of 
human action. To penetrate the lived-world and psyche of the patient 
one necessarily accounts for idiosyncratic expressions, related to patients' 
biography, and the contextual features of patients' communication. It 
was very much a case of the analysand talking to reveal the referential 
structure of his talk to himself. Earlier, Freud had used directive exploration 
of fantasy, but abandoned this and moved via free-association to the 
'talking out' of fantasy associations by the patient independently. Despite 
these changes, the analyst's problem remained unchanged— to interpret 
the patient's utterances and other acts, as indicative of situated pathology, 
via the analyst's own (prior) knowledge of symbols and communicative 
process. The Freudian solution was to treat language as the conveyor of 
the hidden cipher of the psyche and the analyst-analysand relation. 4 

Language in psychoanalysis supplanted the value of imagination 
and the fantasy image. Fantasy remained an object of inquiry but not a 
method. Moreover, by focusing on the patient's expression and the 
analyst's detached, self-knowing presence, an illusion of objectivity was 
projected. The aim in analysis was to use clinical observations, self- 
observations if you like, as a means of regression to the pathological 
nucleus. Beneath many forms of expression one finds the invariant, 
symbolic structure. Jung, on the other hand, sought to reveal the 
workings of the psyche through active, imaginative self-exploration in 
which the analyst and patient jointly participated. While Jung shared the 
strategy of reduction to the pathological nucleus, both the nucleus and 
style of reduction varied from Freud's. Jungian analysis emphasizes 
reflexive exploration of fantasy in various modes and the primary value 
of imaginative variation of psychic content and personal expression. 

Undoubtedly, both therapies appeal to persons who are verbally 
competent, imaginative, intelligent, and not too seriously impaired, just 
as is the case with Carl Rogers' client-centered approach. Nevertheless, 
their comparison reveals several things: (a) Freud's committed rationalism 
promoted the decline of the value of imagination and the ascendance of 
linear-linguistic understanding; (b) Jung's promotion of imagination as 
object and method of inquiry was done in an antirationalist framework 
emphasizing spontaneous, configurational insight— non-linear and intuitive; 
(c) both were concerned with interpretation but in a relatively uncritical 

fashion; neither proposed a phenomenology of mutual understanding; 
(d) both were concerned with the elucidation of relatively invariant 
structures of human consciousness out of the kaleidoscope of communi- 
cative content, although for Jung the structure was transcedent (the 
archetype) and for Freud it was immanent (an unconscious psychic 

Freud's preoccupation with logical-linear processes expressed in 
language reveals the style of rationalism and empiricism; while Jung's 
orientation is more phenomenological. Neither, however, offers an 
epistemology of consciousness and action which includes the analysand 
and and analyst in the social world, thus leaving a hidden order of 
mutuality unaddressed. Modern anthropological and phenomenological 
studies of healing often seek to make this order into primary datum. In 
so doing, some of the patterns discussed above are repeated. For 
example, a phenomenological study of healing sets out to describe the 
range of experience available to participants in healing settings and to 
describe the conditions and content of mutuality (intersubjectivity) or 
shared meanings. Beyond this, there is a concern with the intersection 
that these situated meanings have with cultural symbols aimed at setting 
out structures of consciousness and action. In other words, there is an 
attempt at reduction to relatively invariant features of the social 
organization of healing. 

'Relative' invariance brings us back to the issue of interpretation 
and the mythical guide of Proteus. The hidden order we seek to reveal 
in the research problem we have chosen is the hidden order within 
ourselves and our relation to our focus of attention. As Michael Polanyi 
has it, we know in general (as in a physiognomy) in order to know in 
particular. 5 Our grasping of things is always from a physiognomy to a set 
of focally significant particulars. So, the information we derive from our 
inquiry should not be the particular, but the structure of the from-to 
relation. We know about the world, have a familiarity with it, before we 
dissect it or act in it. Again, this resonates in the Freud-Jung comparison 
since we find that the intuitive (physiognostic) and the logical-linear 
(telegnostic) forms of knowing are not mutually exclusive but dialect ically 

The symbolic parallel of these modes of knowing is the bimodal 
pattern suggested by Langer and now von Bertalanffy: symbolic forms 
are either expressive-existential or discursive-linear. h Stylistically, they 
are correlated with receptive, intuitive cognitive orientation as opposed 
to an intellectual, active orientation. 7 Insofar as symbolism can be 
considered as that which provides depth and contour to our experience, 
then consciousness, the ontological foundation of experience, is bimodal. 

Recent innovations in healing, especially in psychology and psychiatry. 

exemplify the bimodality proposition in both methods of research and 
clinical techniques. Some therapies underpin their approach with findings 
of neuropsychological investigations into hemispheric functions. So, we 
can find proposed strategies for blocking the ieft hemispheric' operation 
to promote intutive, spontaneous problem-solving, either through logical- 
linguistic paradox or through some type of autogenic procedure. 8 However 
promising these clinical procedures may be, there are often two startling 
oversights, or, rather, misconceptions in them: (a) Healing theories 
often do not incorporate a theory of imagination integrated with the 
structure of consciousness. On occasions where such a theory is included, 
the quality of imaginative insertion of the clinician/researcher into the 
healing situation is often ignored, (b) Closely related to the first issue is 
the tendency of analysts to assume, quite frequently, that the content of 
imagery and patients' symbols is immediately transparent to the patient 
and the analyst— or, at least accessible in a very short time. That is, the 
qualities of interpretation are not examined, or even worse, not considered 
to be relevant. What is more, where interpretation is considered focal, 
then more attention to bimodality is insufficient: our recognition must 
be that bimodality is a structure, filled in such a way as to give continuity, 
shape, vitality, and depth to our experiences in a distinctively social 

An intermediate conclusion from the discussion is to underline the 
relation of particulars and structures. The social scientist deals with 
actions and experiences in a world of variously shared meanings, so that 
each human expression is coextensively a moment in the structure of a 
life-world usually described by social scientists in terms of 'social order". 
In other words, for all parties to a situation, experiential moments are 
framed in essential structures which form the configurations of familiarity 
and strangeness, belongingness and estrangement, and so on. We are 
dealing with the minimal conditions of sharing— the natural attitude 
where every actor assumes (implicitly) that the world is in some sense 
'out there', available to every man, at least for all practical purposes, in 
the same way as it is for him." As a fundamental structure of human con- 
sciousness, it contains additional metaphysical assumptions concerning 
being/non-being, inside/outside, temporal/atemporal, body/mind, and 
so on. 10 In every case, where such elements are elicited so that we may 
transcend the natural attitude and make it the source of data, this aim is 
always incompletely realized. As in the fleeting Protean transformation, 
the natural attitude and its content of lived experience are transformed 
by our own natural stance which we can only reflexively grasp (as if out 
of the corners of our eyes) and barely transcend. 

Returning to the issue of healing, the perspective we have arrived at 
is a hermeneutic one. Just as Kuhn has investigated the interpretation of 

scientific knowledge, method and social structure, so we are constrained 
to look at the social contexts of healing, healing observation, and the 
structures of lived experience which frame them." For, just as Merleau- 
Ponty demonstrated in his classic critique of behaviorist psychology that 
there is no physiology without a 'psychology' (an assumptive frame of 
reference about hidden or dispositional states), so Mary Douglas has 
shown us that there is no image of the body which is not also an image of 
(some) society. 12 


Quite often the use of 'consciousness' is equated with a kind of 
radical subjectivity. In this sense it is unproductive in the analysis of 
human action. A more useful approach is the phenomenological one 
wherein subjectivity is a concern but so is mter-subjectivity, the sharing 
of meanings essential to social life. This involves considering every 
object in consciousness (in whatever mode— perception, fantasy, reverie, 
etc.) as having a subjective and an objective pole. 13 Experience is 
organized correspondingly according to the unique sediments of individuals' 
biographies which nevertheless are generally communicable and under- 
standable out of shared language and commonalities in natural attitude. 
Consciousness, then, is an arrangement of part-whole relationships, and 
the idea of polarity is but one expression of it. Likewise, experiential 
moments stand in this same relationship to structural principles. 

In many cultures the process of becoming a healer, and sometimes 
being a patient, invokes some kind of drastic reorganization of individual 
consciousness. Moreover, an important variable in this transition is the 
extent to which social structural supports exist for the change— how it is 
sanctioned. Becoming a healer may mean being recognizably 'ill' in 
some form, madness for example, and passing through this stage to a 
new status as a healing medium. 14 Sometimes this status and consciousness 
change is spontaneously achieved; it is not socially engineered. But in 
some cultures there are deliberate efforts to place stress upon aspiring 
mediums by subjecting them to situations which have contradictory or 
ambiguous social and psychological meanings. 15 In each circumstance, 
spontaneous or organized, there